An AbyD Hero – Diane Humetewa, America’s First Female Native American Federal Judge

Diane Humetewa, photo courtesy of ASU News

Diane Humetewa, photo courtesy of ASU News

Diane Humetewa is the United States’s first female Native American Federal Judge and a hero of ours here at AbyD. Confirmed last year, she is doing a great job fairly interpreting the law for the state of Arizona.

At AbyD, we love and support both the Native American community and those people who push discriminatory boundaries.

Not only are we supporters of Native American culture, history, and people in all ways, we are in the midst of publishing our first book aimed at enhancing Native pride in children and increasing awareness of Native life.

Just Indian is due out before the end of the year and tells the story of a young Native American boy who defies the stereotypes of those around him and, most tellingly, those inside his own head.

Humetewa broke the same stereotypes when she took the federal bench in mid-2014, appointed by President Barack Obama. She is not only the first female Native American federal judge, but only the third Native American judge in the history of the country!

An active member of the Hopi tribe, Humetewa does not see herself as a role model but a judge. She aims to be a judge for all Americans, to preside on all issues, and not just to specialize in things relating to her own culture. She aims to be much more than the sum of her parts.

Judges for all people are in short supply recently. Her judicial skills were critically needed because Arizona’s federal judges were overloaded. Arizona boasts even busier court filings than most other states since it has all of the issues faced by other areas as well as Native American-related cases (due to large parcels of Native and federal lands), as well as a long international land border and all the legal issues related to that. Arizona is one of the busiest judicial systems in the nation, and Humetewa has risen to the occasion of her new position.

AbyD salutes Humetewa and all federal judges for the work that they do. And we hope we can, in some small way, work to help raise awareness and sensitivity to the realities of life as a Native American.

Find out more about Native American life in our forthcoming book, Just Indian. Watch for our announcements over the next few months announcing its publication.

About Laurel Tuohy

Laurel is the resident blogger and manuscript editor at AcuteByDesign. A longtime journalist, her work has been published all over the world in markets as diverse as The Times of India,, The Wall Street Journal Asia and Vice Magazine. Currently living in Bangkok, she is hoping to uncover exciting new Asian authors and illustrators to add to the AByD worldwide family.
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