Posted on Newsmax May 15:
Diane Humetewa made history this week as the first female Native
American federal judge after the U.S. Senate confirmed her appointment
Humetewa, a member of the Hopi Tribe, was approved by the Senate in a 96-0 vote, The Associated Press reported.
She now fills one of the six current vacancies in the District Court of
Arizona. A former attorney general for the state of Arizona from 2007
to 2009, she was serving as a special advisor at Arizona State
University before her confirmation.
Humetewa's appointment was a victory for Native American activists who
had long pushed for American Indian representation in federal court,
particularly in places like Arizona, which has a high Native American population, according to the Indian Country Today Media Network.
"Let's hope Diane's confirmation is just the start of a slew of Native
American federal judges," Chris Stearns, who previously served as a
counsel to the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, told news
network. "There is still a massive lack of representation of Indian
judges in the federal courts."
As a special advisor at Arizona State, Humetewa helped university
president Michael Crow with Native American affairs and acted as an aide
in the university's Office of General Counsel, according to the school's website.
She also served as a professor of practice at Arizona State's Sandra Day
O'Connor College of Law. There, Humetewa worked to establish
relationships with the American Indian tribal governments and
prospective and current Native American students, according to the
"[The National Congress of American Indians] greatly appreciates the
efforts of the president and Senate in achieving this historic
confirmation," the NCAI said in a statement.
"There are many qualified, talented people like Diane Humetewa in
Indian country who are able and willing to serve. We eagerly anticipate
many more nominations of Native people to the federal bench and other
"Judge Humetewa has dedicated time to serving the interests of Native
peoples. She has been the appellate court judge for the Hopi Tribe,
counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and special
advisor to the president on American Indian Affairs at Arizona State
University," the NCAI statement continued.