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Diane Humetewa: First Female Native American Federal Judge

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As the first female Native American federal judge, Diane J. Humetewa is frequently asked about growing up in two worlds: participating in school and social activities in Phoenix while adhering to the Hopi way of life as an enrolled member of the tribe. 

“It’s one world in my view,” said Humetewa, who serves as a U.S. district judge in the District of Arizona. “I would do all the things that high school kids would do … but perhaps on the weekend we’d have to go to the reservation.”

Judge Humetewa is the subject of a new installment in the Pathways to the Bench video series in which judges talk about challenges they overcame on their way to service as a federal judge.

Growing up in an era when cultural uniqueness was rarely celebrated, Humetewa felt that she couldn’t share her cultural identity widely. She is gratified to see young people today freely sharing their multicultural lives and individuality.

Prior to her historic appointment to the federal bench in 2014, Humetewa was the first Native American woman to serve as a U.S. Attorney in 2007, in the District of Arizona.

Related Topics: Judicial History

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