"We felt we were left out of the loop," said Phyllis Young, the board secretary. "I was really in the dark. I just feel it is the Smithsonian way of doing things. We were informed that it was the sole responsibility of the secretary. We can cry spilt milk but it is done," said Young, a community activist on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota.
Cobell, the lead plaintiff in that class action suit, said she opposed the appointment on all grounds, including his tenure at BIA. "It is just a situation where he is not well-respected in Indian country," Cobell said. She said the museum director should not be an "adversary" of any Indian interests. West said last week that Gover has "good standing" in the Indian communities.