Katie Brossy grew up in Lincoln, the daughter of a prominent state advocate for Native people in Nebraska.
Much like her mother did, Brossy advocates for Native people, but on a national level.
The 37-year-old Lincoln Southeast High School graduate is an attorney for one of the most influential lobbying firms in the country, Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld. She's a member of the Ponca Tribe and of the firm’s American Indian Law and Policy group.
Brossy has focused on helping tribes gain passage of water settlements within Congress and recently helped a Montana tribe gain passage of a $460 million settlement with the federal government.
She recently was named one of the Top 40 Lawyers Under 40 by Trending 40 in Washington.
“I would give a nod to my mom,” said Brossy. “She has been my biggest and strongest role model.”
Her mother is Judi M. gaiashkibos, executive director of the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs.
Brossy also cited her own work as a page for the Nebraska Legislature in piquing her interest in government.
“Having that exposure to government sparked my interest in policy,” she said.
She graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2001 with a bachelor’s in sociology and from Columbia University with a law degree in 2005. She worked for Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson and Perry, a smaller Native law firm in Washington, for nearly two years.
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About nine years ago, she joined Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld.
Brossy cited her work on the Crow Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act of 2010 as among her greatest accomplishments so far.
The $460 million settlement will help the tribe repair its failing irrigation system, build a clean drinking-water system and implement energy development projects.
She said the money will help the tribe provide its members with a basic necessity many Americans take for granted. Before the settlement, many people living on the Crow Indian Reservation had to haul clean water to their homes or boil water before using it.
“A lot of our first people, our first Americans, don’t necessarily have access to clean drinking water,” Brossy said.
She said she’s hopeful the money also could lead to economic development projects such as hydropower facilities.
Brossy’s other career highlights include serving on a legal team that represented the Osage Tribe of Oklahoma in a case that led to a $380 million settlement in 2011 against the federal government for mismanagement of the tribe’s lands, natural resources and other trust assets.
She is also representing the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians in California on a water settlement similar to the Crow Tribe’s and has appeared before the House of Representatives and Senate.
“We’re hopeful that we’ll also be able to pass this water settlement for Pechanga to provide a secure water supply for their tribal members for years to come,” she said.