President Obama announced the nomination of Jonodev Osceola Chaudhuri to be chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission at the Department of the Interior.
The U.S. Senate will have to confirm his nomination before he takes over the top job in an office where he currently serves as the vice chairman and associate commissioner since last year. He also served as acting chairman of the NIGC from October 2013 to April 2014. The White House made the announcement on July 22.
Jonodev Chaudhuri, originally from Tempe, Arizona, is the son of an Indian father and Native American mother, a rare background among first generation Indian-Americans. According to a Creek Indian Nation obituary available on the U.S. Government War Archives website, Jonodev Chaudhuri is the son of Joy Chaudhuri and the late Ella Jean Hill Chaudhuri, a civil rights activist, lobbyist, cultural historian and writer, who died in 1997, at the age of 60 at her Arizona home.
Jonodev Chaudhuri has a brother Joydev Paul Mahagi. His grandmother on his father’s side is named Sulata Chaudhuri.
A graduate of Dartmouth College with a law degree from Cornell Law School, Jonodev Chaudhuri was previously senior counselor to the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior from 2012 to 2013.
His Native American heritage appears to have determined his professional life. He has served a number of years on Native American courts – as an associate judge on the Puyallup Tribe of Nations Court from 2011 to 2012, an Appellate Judge on the San Manuel Mission Band of Indians Appeals Court from 2009 to 2012, and an Appellate Judge on the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Supreme Court from 2006 to 2012.
Prior to becoming a judge, he served as a deputy public defender in the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office from 2010 to 2011. He also ran his own law firm Chaudhuri Law Office, P.L.L.C, where he was managing attorney from 2006 to 2010.
Jonodev Chaudhuri also held Appellate Judge appointments on the Gila River Indian Community Court of Appeals from 2008 to 2010 and on the Yavapai-Apache Nation Court of Appeals from 2005 to 2009. From 2001 to 2006, he served as an Associate at Snell & Wilmer, L.L.P.
Prior to this, he served as a judicial clerk for the Judge Noel Fidel of the Arizona Court of Appeals from 2000 to 2001 and a Judicial Clerk for the Judge James Ackerman of the Arizona Court of Appeals from 1999 to 2000.