Senate confirms first Native American woman as federal judge

Humetewa is also the first active member of a tribe to sit on the bench.

By JC Sevcik

WASHINGTON, May 15 (UPI) -- Congress made history Wednesday night when the Senate, in a unanimous 96-0 vote, appointed former U.S. Attorney and active member of the Hopi tribe Diane Humetewa as a federal judge.

Humetewa, who will serve on the U.S. District Court in Arizona, is only the third Native American to hold a seat as a federal judge, and is the first Native American woman and the first active member of a tribe to sit on the bench.


"I feel privileged to serve in this new capacity," said Humetewa, who is presently serving as the Arizona State University Special Advisor to the President for American Indian Affairs, adding that she is "certainly grateful for all of the support that President Crow and the ASU community offered me throughout the confirmation process."

This is not the first time Humetewa has made history. In 2007, she was the first female Native American to be appointed as a U.S. Attorney, and during her career, she served as counsel to the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Subcommittee chaired by Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, who informed the Senate prior to the vote Wednesday of the history they would be making by appointing Humetewa.


"NCAI greatly appreciates the efforts of the President and Senate in achieving this historic confirmation," the National Congress of American Indians 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 offices."

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