First American Indian Woman in History to Serve as U.S. District Court Judge

September 23, 2013 –

Washington, DC – The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) has endorsed President Obama’s nomination of Diane J. Humetewa from the Hopi Tribe to serve as a United States District Court Judge for the District of Arizona. Senator John McCain of Arizona is credited with recommending the nomination. Upon confirmation, Humetewa will be the first American Indian woman in history to serve as a federal judge. Humetewa served as the United States Attorney for the District of Arizona from 2007 to 2009 under President George W. Bush.


NCAI also endorsed the President’s nomination of John Joseph Tuchi to serve as a United States District Court Judge for the District of Arizona. Tuchi’s service as Tribal Liaison from 2009-2012 demonstrated his knowledge of federal Indian law and his commitment to the critical role of tribes in the American family of governments. His nomination has the strong support of tribes in Arizona.


“These nominations are a significant step forward for Indian Country. Diane Humetewa is highly qualified and has been recognized and nominated for important federal positions by both Present Obama and President Bush. John Tuchi is highly qualified and has a strong record of upholding the trust responsibility to tribal nations. NCAI endorses the President’s nominations and we urge the Senate to move quickly to confirm them both,” said NCAI President Jefferson Keel.


“This also represents a great step forward for the federal courts. For many years we have stressed the importance of including Native Americans in the federal judiciary. Senator McCain should be applauded for recommending the nomination of Ms. Humetewa,” added Keel. “We have also underscored the need for all federal judges to understand federal Indian law. Mr. Tuchi has a firsthand understanding of the importance of federal Indian law, an asset that is far too rare among federal judges.”


NCAI First Vice Present Juana Majel also praised the nomination of Humetewa. “In 2013 we have witnessed the passage of the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization that included extraordinarily important protections for Native women. With the nomination of Diane Humetewa to be the first Native woman to be a federal judge, 2013 is truly a landmark year for Native women.”