Uniquely Experienced Tribal Attorney

Advocate for American Indian nations and Native-owned business

Our Team

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 served a lead role in major conflicts with the U.S. federal and state governments to protect tribal sovereignty and treaty rights, including efforts to stop New York State from taxing Seneca commerce and lobbying for the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act of 2014, which ended the practice of IRS auditing of Indians for benefits received from their tribal governments.

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.

Robert Odawi Porter

Enrolled citizen of the Seneca Nation of Indians
Heron Clan / Allegany Territory

Academic Experience

  • Professor of Law, Syracuse University (2003-2010)
  • Founding Director, Center for Indigenous Law, Governance and Citizenship
  • Professor of Law, University of Iowa (2002-2003)
  • Professor of Law, University of Kansas (1995-2002)
    Founding Director, Tribal Law and Government Center
  • Author of 20 scholarly articles on American Indian Law & Policy

Robert Odawi Porter

Enrolled citizen of the Seneca Nation of Indians

  • Heron Clan
  • Allegany Territory


  • J.D. Harvard Law School (1989)
  • A.B. Syracuse University in Political Science and Economics (1986)

Tribal Government Experience

  • President and Chief Executive Officer, Seneca Nation of Indians
  • Senior Policy Advisor and Counsel, Seneca Nation of Indians
  • Attorney General, Seneca Nation of Indians

Business Experience

  • Founding Chairman, Seneca Holdings LLC (2009-2013)

Legal Experience

  • Senior Counsel, Dentons US LLP (2013 – present)
  • Associate, Dickstein, Shapiro & Morin (1989-1991)

Strategic Partners

As client needs require, Odawi Tribal Strategies is able to draw upon a national network of distinguished individuals and firms with experience working in Indian Country.  Following the initial consultation, we will develop a services proposal for client consideration.  This business approach ensures that client needs and objectives are achieved in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.