Diane-Humetewa

Humetewa is first American Indian woman federal judge

Diane Humetewa, Arizona State University Special Advisor to the President for American Indian Affairs, has been named the first American Indian woman to serve as a federal judge.

Humetewa won unanimous approval in the U.S. Senate in a 96-0 vote and will serve in the federal District Court of Arizona.

“I feel privileged to serve in this new capacity and I am certainly grateful for all of the support that President Crow and the ASU community offered me throughout the confirmation process,” Humetewa said.

This isn’t the first time Humetewa has made her mark in history. She was the first American Indian female to be appointed as a U.S. Attorney in 2007. During a long career in public service, she also served as counsel to the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Subcommittee, then chaired by Sen. John McCain. Before the Senate vote, Senator McCain informed the Senate body of the historic nature of the vote.

As a Professor of Practice in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and Special Advisor to the President, Humetewa taught Indian law and worked to improve the retention and success of American Indian students at the university.

“Diane Humetewa has excelled in efforts to bring higher education to American Indian people on tribal lands throughout the state and to improve their academic experience at the university,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow.

“We look forward to following her progress as she continues her exceptional career in public service.”

Humetewa, who will leave ASU to serve on the federal district court, was chairperson of the ASU Tribal Liaison Advisory Committee and a member of the Provost’s Native American Advisory Council. She worked to promote higher education opportunities among Arizona’s tribes, notably with the Tribal Nations Tour that brought university students and staff to reservation communities.

Humetewa, a member of the Hopi tribe, was born and raised in Arizona. She began school on the Hualapai Reservation and traveled throughout Arizona’s Indian country with her father, who worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. She maintains close ties to her family and culture on the Hopi reservation.

Humetewa received her Juris Doctor degree in 1993 from ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and her bachelor’s degree from ASU in 1987. She has served on the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law Indian Legal Advisory Committee since 1997.