Wes is a Staff Attorney at the Native American Rights Fund in Anchorage, Alaska. He joined NARF in 2016 as the inaugural Alaska Fellow. Wes’s practice focuses primarily on the protection of traditional cultural places and landscapes and tribal cultural resources. His work emphasizes tribal cultural survivance through the advancement of Indigenous concepts of cultural resource stewardship within the National Historic Preservation Act and other federal laws. Wes has represented Tribes, tribal consortia, and tribal organizations in Alaska and the Lower 48 in federal and state litigation, in NEPA and Section 106 processes for large-scale and contentious resource development projects, National Register nominations, federal rulemaking, and the development of Section 106 program alternatives. Wes’s practice also includes treaty rights, tribal jurisdiction and sovereignty, substance rights, sovereign immunity, and constitutional law. He has also published extensive scholarship on traditional cultural landscapes, cultural resource protection, treaty rights, and habitat restoration.
Wes received his J.D. from the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana with Certificates in American Indian Law and Environmental and Natural Resources Law. In law school, Wes was a Clinical Student at the Margery Hunter Brown Indian Law Clinic, the Managing Editor of the Public Land & Resources Law Review, a board member of his Native American Law Student Association chapter and OutLaws (an LGBTQI+ law student organization), he competed in the 2015 National NALSA Moot Court, and clerked for the Honorable Brian M. Morris, United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Montana, in Great Falls. In 2016, he received the Edward E. Cremer Environmental Law Award for outstanding research in environmental law from the Blewett School of Law. In 2021, Wes received the Partner in Preservation Award from the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers. He is licensed in the States of Alaska and Montana, the United States District Courts for the Districts of Alaska, Columbia, Montana, and North Dakota, and the United States Courts of Appeals for the Ninth and District of Columbia Circuits.
Wes grew up on Fir Island, Washington, north of Seattle, at the confluence of the Skagit River and the Salish Sea. When not working, Wes will most likely be found riding his mountain bike, fat bike, or gravel bike with his wife Carrie (when they are not debating the finer points of TCPs).