Jonodev O. Chaudhuri has extensive experience representing tribal nations, tribal citizens, corporations, and individual clients on issues relating to commercial litigation, gaming, governance, tribal sovereignty and self-determination, and economic development. Having spent his entire career serving tribal nations and Native communities in various policy, legal, and judicial capacities, he possesses a deep understanding of the connection between the development of strong governmental institutions and tribal self-determination.
In 2013, President Barack Obama designated Chaudhuri to serve as acting Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC). He was then nominated by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2015. During his tenure as NIGC Chairman, Chaudhuri oversaw the $32.4B Indian gaming industry, comprised of approximately 500 gaming facilities, operated by 244 tribal nations across 29 states. While at the Commission, he provided guidance on a wide range of national policy issues including Indian gaming, economic development, energy, Alaskan affairs, and tribal recognition.
His law and policy track record extends beyond his tenure at the NIGC. Earlier in his career, he served as senior counselor to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, providing insight and counsel on policy issues. His 20-year legal career includes serving as a judge on five different tribal courts, including serving as Chief Justice of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Supreme Court, the highest court of the fourth largest tribe in the nation.
His professional background also includes serving as a community organizer, adjunct professor, public defender, legal services director, and author. A highly sought after speaker, he regularly presents at national and regional conferences and symposia, including the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA), FBA Indian Law Conference, Sovereignty Symposium, National Tribal Gaming Commissioners & Regulators (NTGCR) and more, including several keynote addresses. He also has given dozens of CLE and conference presentations on Indian law, economic development, and judicial topics.
Education and Honors
- Cornell University Law School (J.D., 1999)
- Member/General Editor, Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy
- Dartmouth College (B.A., 1993)
- Tucker Foundation Fellowship; President, Native Americans at Dartmouth (1992)
- Muscogee (Creek) Nation
- U.S. District Court, Districts of Arizona and Western Oklahoma
- Intertribal Court of Southern California
- Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribal Court
- Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Tribal Court
- Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association Lifetime Achievement Award
- Recipient of the "Excellence in Government Service" Award (Native American Bar Association - D.C., 2019)
- Recipient of the "Regulator of the Year - Indian Country" Award (International Masters of Gaming Law, 2019)
Appellate Judge Appointment
- Muscogee (Creek) Nation Supreme Court (Chief Justice, 2006-2012)
- San Manuel Mission Band of Indians Appeals Court (Appellate Judge, 2009-2012)
- Gila River Indian Community Court of Appeals (Appellate Judge, 2008-2010)
- Yavapai-Apache Nation Court of Appeals Camp (Appellate Judge, 2005-2009)