Diane Humetewa has made the grade by being appointed to the federal bench as a judge. She is the first female Native American judge to hold the prestigious office.
The entire senate passed a resolution in favor of Diane. There have been two other Native Americans who have held similar positions in the past, but they were both male.
“Let’s hope Diane's confirmation is just the start of a slew of Native American federal judges,” said Chris Stearns (Navajo), who previously served as a counsel to the House Natural Resources Committee. “There is still a massive lack of representation of Indian judges in the federal courts.”
By being the first female to make it past the glass ceiling, Humetewa has brought pride and self esteem to minorities. The vote was 96-0 on Diane’s side.
Humetewa worked as a US attorney for Dubya before she was selected for the office of judge of the Arizona district court. She is a self-confident member of the Hopi tribe.
And she has served on a professorial basis in the past as well. Obama chose Humetewa for her current slot after she stepped down from her previous position as attorney.
Native Americans have fought for their basic human rights in recent times. They are not about to be let down by the White Anglo Saxon Protestant (WASP) majority.
Like Black Americans and Hispanic Americans (not to mention Jewish Americans) all the minorities have left the melting pot norm far behind.
Nowadays, we are living in an age where every ethnic minority holds on to its hard-won rights with tenacity and jealousy. No longer are the masses and downtrodden satisfied with tokenism.
They want solid results in the way of affirmative action. It is hoped that Humetewa’s example will be followed by more representation of Native Americans in the top institutions of the Land of Opportunity.
The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) have unanimously stated that Humetewa is impeccably qualified for the office she has been awarded. She is amply gifted to apply the proceedings of her vocation in a worthy manner.
“NCAI greatly appreciates the efforts of the president and Senate in achieving this historic confirmation,” the organization said. “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.”
“With the confirmation of Judge Humetewa, the Senate has taken an important step toward broadening the makeup of the federal courts,” Bert Brandenburg, executive director of the non-profit Justice at Stake organization, said in a statement.
“Increasing representation of Native Americans on the federal bench is especially important because federal courts have an outsized authority in defining what's known as federal Indian law. As a result, Native American people and tribal entities appear as parties in federal court proceedings at far higher rates than do non-Native Americans. Given this picture, the current lack of any active federal judges who are Native Americans is absolutely appalling.”
“Diane Humetewa is an inspiration to Native people, especially Native women across Indian country,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, said in a statement. “This is an important appointment and long overdue. I’m pleased that the Senate came together in a bipartisan way to get this done. As the only Native American in active service on the federal bench, Diane provides much-needed expertise on the complexities of federal law and Indian sovereignty.”