On September 19, President Barack Obama announced his nomination of Diane J. Humetewa for the U.S. District Court for Arizona. Humetewa is a Hopi citizen and served as an appellate court judge for the Hopi Tribe Appellate Court from 2002 to 2007.
Along with Humetewa, Obama nominated John Joseph Tuchi for a U.S. District Court Judge for Arizona as well. Tuchi who has served as a tribal liaison from 2009-2012 has demonstrated his knowledge of federal Indian law and a commitment to the critical role of tribes in the American family of governments.
Following the nominations the National Congress of American Indians released a statement in support of both nominations.
“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.”