Law | Politics

Interview: Joey Jayne, first Indian woman judge in Montana





"Northwestern Montana’s Lake County Justice of the Peace-elect Joey Jayne, Navajo, was elected after which she calls a lot of perseverance in this year’s 2012 election cycle. She’s the first Native woman Justice Court Judge in Montana’s history, and one of two Natives ever elected to the position – the other is current Justice of the Peace Leroy Not Afraid, Crow, in eastern Montana’s Big Horn County. Born in Shiprock and raised in Tohatchi, New Mexico, Jayne’s passion for justice landed her up north as judge of a county that incorporates the Flathead Indian Reservation. She spoke with Indian Country Today Media Network about her passion to see justice prevail across Indian country.

What made you decide to pursue law?

I got accepted to the University of Montana Law School when I was working as a department director for the Navajo Nation Water Management Branch for a water rights attorney. So that’s pretty much how I got into law: I wanted to be a water rights attorney. Water rights are a big hot button topic down there. Ironically, I don’t work in water rights now, per se, although I’d still like too since that’s what I went to school for. I have a Master’s of Science degree in Watershed Management and Hydrology from the University of Arizona, and Agricultural Industry bachelor’s degree from Arizona State."

Get the Story:
6 Questions With Joey Jayne, Montana’s First Native Woman Justice Court Judge (Indian Country Today 12/11)