Robert Odawi Porter is an innovative and results-driven attorney, scholar and political leader who has devoted his professional career to advancing the rights of sovereign American Indian nations and tribes [in the United States]. A citizen of the Seneca Nation of Indians, Rob was raised in the Nation’s Allegany Territory and earned his education from Syracuse University and Harvard Law School. He served two terms as Seneca chief legal counsel, as founding chairman of Seneca Holdings LLC, and, in 2010, was elected as the Seneca Nation’s 67th President. He has served as a tenured law professor at the University of Kansas, the University of Iowa, and Syracuse University, and written numerous academic articles on tribal law and governance and a book, “Sovereignty, Colonialism, and the Indigenous Nations; A Reader.”
A proven advocate, Rob has successfully defended and protected federal and state governments tribal sovereignty and treaty rights. He served a lead role in efforts to stop New York State from taxing Seneca commerce and was a key player in the ending IRS' practice of auditing Indians for benefits received from their tribal governments under the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act of 2014.
As I see it, ‘sovereignty’ as applied to Indigenous nations simply means freedom, the freedom of a people to choose what their future will be.