Institute of American Indian Arts announces new Board of Trustees member

Bidtah Becker, assistant Attorney General with Navajo Nation, to serve on board through 2018

The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) announced that President Obama has appointed Bidtah N. Becker, an assistant attorney general for the Navajo Nation, to IAIA's Board of Trustees.

Bidtah N. Becker (Navajo) will serve a term expiring on May 19, 2018. She replaces Perry R. Eaton (Sugpiaq Alutiiq of Alaksa), who is the president and chief executive officer of Alaska Village Initiatives. As a part of the 12-member Board of Trustees, Becker will formulate policies and bylaws for IAIA and direct strategic planning to ensure sufficient resources.

Opening first as a high school in 1962, Congress reorganized the Institute in 1988 granting IAIA charter status as the nation's only fine arts college solely devoted to the arts and cultural tradition of all American Indians. The U.S. President continues to appoint IAIA's Board of Trustees today. Preservation and the continuation of the indigenous arts is preservation and continuation of the first peoples in North America, according to the congressional charter.

Becker is Assistant Attorney General for the Natural Resources Unit of the Navajo Nation Department of Justice. She also served in the Water Rights Unit of the Navajo Nation Department of Justice from 2004 to 2012, and in the Human Services and Government Unit from 2002 to 2004.

Earlier in her career, Becker taught government courses at the Santa Fe Indian School and was also a Chaplain in Residence at the Georgetown University Campus Ministry. She serves on the Board of the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts and the University of New Mexico School of Law Alumni Board of Directors. Becker received a B.S.F.S. from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and a J.D. from the University of New Mexico School of Law. She is married to Paul Spruhan, and is the mother of Bahe, 7, and Tazbah, 3.

Offering degrees in studio arts, creative writing, new media arts, indigenous liberal studies and museum studies, IAIA is the only college in New Mexico with National Association of Schools of Art and Design accreditation. The school serves nearly 400 Native and non-Native American college students from across the nation, and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges. The Institute is celebrating its 50-year anniversary.

More information about IAIA is available at


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