Kendall McCoy

Graduation Year


  • Cookson, Oklahoma


  • B.A., English, Northeastern State Oklahoma


What inspired you to pursue a law degree?

Before working in the Cherokee Nation’s Washington DC office – first as an intern and later as a legislative assistant – I had been largely blind to many issues facing Indian Country, particularly the lack of funding for the Indian Health Service, the staggering rates of domestic violence, rape and suicide, and the legion of roadblocks in the protection of Tribal natural resources. I lived and breathed “sovereignty” and the “Nation-to-Nation relationship” while working in that office but always felt I could do more, which is why I am attending the University of Oklahoma College of Law to pursue my Juris Doctorate in American Indian and Indigenous Peoples law.

Why did you choose OU Law?

I am a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, and having worked for the Nation on a national level in Washington DC and the local level at our Tribal headquarters in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, I have seen that nearly any legal issue can and likely does affect Native people, and the University of Oklahoma understands that as well. Attending OU would be the starting point of what I expect to be a long career in Indian Country. My father has been a police officer for thirty years, and I have watched him enforce the law as a Cherokee Nation Marshal and Bureau of Indian Affairs Special Agent my whole life. I hope to carry on his legacy of helping Native people, just in a different practice of law enforcement.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

My grandmother, Thelma Forrest, is a Cherokee National Treasure, and has been teaching me to make traditional rivercane baskets since I was ten years old.

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