Gyasi Ross: Nominate Diane Humetewa to serve on Supreme Court

Diane Humetewa, a member of the Hopi Tribe, is the first Native American woman to serve as a federal judge. Photo from Arizona State University

Gyasi Ross, the editor at large for Indian Country Today, delivers an open letter to President Barack Obama, calling on Diane Humetewa, a member of the Hopi Tribe who serves as a federal judge, to be nominated for the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court:
She is a Native woman and Native women tend to have amazing powers when it comes to making functional, pragmatic decisions with world-shaking implications. Of course you are aware how Native communities were violently shaken and pushed to their existential limits by white colonialism and the Manifest Destiny approach employed by the United States government. The tangible manifestations of that approach were the murder of some sixty million buffalo to kill Native peoples’ primary food source. It also manifest by the abduction and terrorization of over 100,000 Native children in boarding schools where they were indoctrinated with the gospel that the white way is right and that our Native ways that have sustained us for tens of thousands of years were wrong, evil, ugly and repugnant.

That approach manifested itself with the enslavement of Native people, the decimation of millions of our people and the wholesale stealing of our lands. It continues until this day through such socio-economic indicators as Native people being the most likely to be murdered by police violence, by Native people having the lowest life expectancy of any people on this continent and the highest suicide rates of any community.

Yet, in spite of all the many obstacles, traps, snags and entanglements that the United States government, white supremacy and Manifest Destiny created that were intended to wipe Native people off the face of the earth, Native women largely kept us together. We’re here. Somehow. And it was largely through the wisdom, resourcefulness and spiritual strength of Native women keeping together a community whose self-esteem and very lives were constantly in jeopardy. From the moment Europeans first stumbled onto these shores, our future has never been secure. But we remain and although we might not be where we want to be, we have gotten stronger.

Get the Story:
Gyasi Ross: President Obama: A Letter of Recommendation for Diane Humetewa for The Supreme Court (Indian Country Today 3/8)

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