Skip to main content

Steven J W Heeley

Of Counsel

Rothstein Donatelli LLP


STEVEN J.W. HEELEY, Advisor, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Washington, D.C.  Steve serves as a consultant to Akin Gump. He advises Indian tribes on corporate, transactional and natural resources matters, as well as on tribal governance and jurisdictional issues. He has served as the deputy general counsel for the Gila River Indian Community for over 10 years. In addition, he has served as an adjunct law professor at Arizona State University, teaching seminars on economic development in Indian Country and tribal law and government. He also served as a member of the University’s Advisory Committee for the Indian Law Program for over 10 years.  During the 104th Congress, he served as staff director and chief counsel to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, which was chaired by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Prior to assuming that role, Steve was counsel to the Subcommittee on Native American Affairs of the Committee on Natural Resources in the U.S. House of Representatives, which was established in 1993. Prior to the creation of this subcommittee, he served as the Deputy Counsel on Indian affairs to the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs under Chairman George Miller. From 1989 to 1991, he was Deputy Minority Counsel to Sen. McCain on the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs and prior to that he was an attorney for the Gila River Indian Community.  With nearly three decades of experience in Indian law, Steve has negotiated a lease agreement and the related documents necessary for the development of a 360,000 square foot retail development on tribal trust lands; tax-exempt financing pursuant to an award under the Tribal Economic Development Bond program to finance the construction of a three star hotel and related facilities on tribal trust lands; the development and construction of a three star casino hotel and related facilities; the development and construction of a four star casino hotel on trust lands; the development and construction of a 500 room four star resort hotel and spa; and a number of management and license agreements covering resort hotels, business hotels, golf courses, retail businesses, and themed entertainment venues.  Steve is a Potawatomi Indian and a citizen of the Walpole Island First Nation in Ontario, Canada.