Robert Odawi Porter is a former President of the Seneca Nation of Indians and an aggressive, experienced and innovative advocate for advancing the sovereignty and self-determination of American Indians and Alaska Natives.

A Heron Clan citizen of the Seneca Nation of Indians, Rob was raised in the Nation’s Allegany Territory in Western New York State and graduated from Syracuse University and Harvard Law School. He served two terms as the Seneca chief legal counsel and policy advisor where he helped defend Nation sovereignty and treaty rights against threats from the United States and New York State governments and advised Nation officials during an unprecedented period of Seneca economic growth.

Also during this time, Rob served as the founding chairman of Seneca Holdings LLC, the Nation’s diversified investment company. In 2010, was elected as the Seneca Nation’s 67th President, where he led the successful effort to complete the Nation’s $130 million Buffalo Creek Casino in the City of Buffalo.

Prior to his service as Seneca president, for 15 years Rob was a tenured professor of American Indian law at the University of Kansas, the University of Iowa, and Syracuse University where he was a nationally-recognized scholar in the areas of tribal sovereignty, governance, and decolonization with many academic articles and a book, “Sovereignty, Colonialism, and the Indigenous Nations; A Reader.”

A proven advocate, Rob has served a lead role in addressing major conflicts with the U.S. federal and state governments to protect tribal sovereignty and treaty rights, including designing the advocacy strategy that led to a $210 million gaming compact settlement and a $100 million hydropower energy settlement. Rob also served a lead role in advocating for the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act of 2014, which ended the practice of IRS taxation of benefits received by Indians from their tribal governments. Throughout his 30-year career, he has been an aggressive and successful advocate for protecting tribal treaty rights and protecting tribal self-governance and economic growth from outside taxation and regulatory interference.

In February 2018, Rob founded the Capitol Hill Policy Group, a bipartisan federal government relations firm that provides advice and advocacy on a wide range of issues before Congress, the White House and Executive branch agencies. With his co-founder Todd Bertoson, a former Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, the Capitol Hill Policy Group has broad public affairs expertise to serve American Indians and Alaska Natives in their relations with the United States government.


(202) 221-7821


·    Treaty rights protection and expansion

·    US, state and global government relations

·    Tribal constitutional, governmental and legal development

·    Taxation, economic development and tribal empowerment

·    Crisis management

Congressional testimony

US Senate

·    Finance Committee, hearing on “Tax Reform: What It Could Mean for Tribes and Territories,” May 15, 2012

·    Indian Affairs Committee, hearing on Internet gaming, February 9, 2012

US House of Representatives

·    Subcommittee on Health, Employment and Labor & Pensions, hearing on HR 2335, Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act of 2011, July 25, 2012

·    Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs, hearing on HR 3532, Trust Land Conversion to Restricted Fee, February 7, 2012

Activities and Affiliations

Seneca Nation of Indians