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Kevin Gover, Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, has been named the Smithsonian’s undersecretary for museums and culture, effective next week.

Gover is director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and has served as acting undersecretary since February. The position oversees the Smithsonian’s history and art museums, its cultural centers, the Archives of American Art, exhibits and the National Collections Program.

Gover began as director of the National Museum of the American Indian in 2007, overseeing the Washington, D.C., and New York City museums as well as the Cultural Resources Center in Suitland, Maryland.

“Gover has led the museum to pursue equity and social justice for Native people through education, inspiration and empowerment, and the museum has worked to expand people’s ideas of what it means to be Native American,” a Smithsonian release said.

Under his leadership, the museums have opened numerous critically acclaimed exhibitions in Washington and New York, the release said. He also oversaw the launch of Native Knowledge 360°, the museum’s national educational initiative.

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Most recently, in November, the museum completed and opened the National Native American Veterans Memorial on its Washington, D.C., grounds.

(Related: Native veterans memorial unveiled)

Gover previously served as assistant secretary of Indian Affairs at the U.S. Interior Department under President Bill Clinton.

Machel Monenerkit will serve as acting director of the National Museum of the American Indian following Gover’s departure. She joined the museum’s executive office in 2006 and currently serves as its deputy director.

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