Robert Osley Saunooke, Director
Mr. Saunooke continues a long familial history of working with American Indians and Tribal Governments. He has an extensive background in the creation and drafting of Tribal legislation. He has worked with a number of Tribal Governments throughout Indian Country assisting them in enacting legislation and codifying their own laws, including the Susanville Indian Rancheria (1994-95) Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians serving as Legislative Counsel from 1997-1999; Seminole Tribe of Florida General Counsel to Chairman James E. Billie 2000- 2001. From 1998-2000 Mr. Saunooke served as juvenile public defender in the Cherokee Tribal Court and assisted in the implementation of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians domestic violence and violence against children program. In addition, he appeared before Congress representing Jose Canseco and has gained notoriety as one of the leading legal commentators on the legalities of drug use in sports and the workplace.
Prior to entering the field of law, Mr. Saunooke was a member of the Brigham Young University Football team, and the recipient of the Shining Example of America Award for Acts of Heroism associated with his actions in saving the lives of eleven children.
Mr. Saunooke is an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Grandson of Osley Bird Saunooke, Chief of the Eastern Cherokees, and son of Osley Bird Saunooke, Jr., first director of USET, and former Vice President of NCAI. Robert has three children and resides with his wife in Florida and Cherokee, North Carolina.