The passing of David Getches

David Getches, who directed the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), passed away on July 5. As director of NARF, Getches served a pivotal role in the U.S. v. Washington litigation that eventually reaffirmed the tribes’ treaty right to harvest salmon.

From the CU-Boulder:

Longtime University of Colorado Law School Dean David Getches, who had stepped down on June 30 in order to return to the school’s faculty, died today. He was 68.

“David Getches came along at exactly the right time for the American West, which has undergone such sweeping changes over the past half century,” said Charles Wilkinson, Moses Lasky Professor of Law and longtime friend. “As a wise advocate and leading public intellectual, David brought vision, common sense and passion to pressing issues of water, land and Indian rights. Now Indian tribes, universities, government offices, conservationists and the rivers themselves will grieve aloud. We will not see his kind again.”

From 1983 to 1987, Getches was executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources under Gov. Richard D. Lamm. Getches earned his undergraduate degree from Occidental College in California and his law degree from the University of Southern California School of Law. He began his legal career in 1967 with the law firm of Luce, Forward, Hamilton and Scripps in San Diego. In 1968, he was co-directing attorney for California Indian Legal Services and in 1970, he moved to Colorado to become the founding executive director for the Boulder-based Native American Rights Fund, a national, nonprofit Indian-interest law firm.

You can also read more about Getches here.