NCAI News


Sara Hill's Confirmation to U.S. District Court Moves Forward Native American Representation in Oklahoma

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Published on: 12/19/2023

December 19, 2023

Washington, D.C. | The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), and the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA) celebrate the confirmation of Judge Sara Hill to serve on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma.

Judge Hill, who is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, is the first Native American woman confirmed for a lifetime judicial appointment in the state. With Oklahoma home to 39 federally recognized Tribal Nations, her confirmation is not just a historic milestone but a meaningful step forward in ensuring the federal judiciary reflects the communities it serves. Further, as the only active Native American federal judge in Oklahoma, Judge Hill brings a critical perspective and deep knowledge of federal Indian law.

“NCAI applauds both President Biden’s nomination of Sara Hill, and the Senate’s confirmation of her as the first-ever Native American woman to sit on the federal bench in the state of Oklahoma,” said NCAI President Mark Macarro. “Judge Hill brings with her an unparalleled experience in law and policy to our justice system, including a depth of understanding of tribal sovereignty that is far too often lacking on the judicial bench.”

“Judge Hill’s extensive experience serving the Cherokee Nation provides a strong background for her work in the Northern District of Oklahoma,” said NARF Executive Director John Echohawk. “Her confirmation is an important and necessary milestone and serves as a reminder that continuing to increase Native representation at a federal level is needed.”

“Sara Hill exemplifies Native excellence and legal leadership through her success as a litigator, policy advocate, and senior tribal government official for the Cherokee Nation,” said NNABA President Makalika Naholowaa. “This is a truly historic confirmation. Ms. Hill will be only the 10th Native American Article III federal judge to ever serve in the judiciary throughout U.S. history. We are grateful to the Biden administration and senators who supported this historic nomination and confirmation. We look forward to following the honorable Judge Hill’s successful judicial career and representation of Native American women in the judiciary.”

NCAI, NARF, and NNABA extend heartfelt congratulations to Sara Hill on this momentous achievement. Her confirmation is a testament to her dedication and expertise, and it helps address the undeniable need for Native voices on the federal bench.

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About the National Congress of American Indians:Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is the oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the United States. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies. NCAI promotes an understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people, and rights. For more information, visit www.ncai.org.

About the Native American Rights Fund (NARF):

NARF is a non-profit 501c(3) organization focused on applying existing laws and treaties to guarantee that federal and state governments live up to their legal obligations to Native Americans. Since 1970, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) has provided specialized legal assistance to Indian tribes, organizations, and individuals nationwide to assert and defend the most important Native rights in hundreds of major cases. NARF has achieved significant results in critical areas such as tribal sovereignty, treaty rights, natural resource protection, voting rights, and Indian education. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @NDNrights to learn about the latest fights to promote justice and protect Native American rights. Visit www.narf.org.

About the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA):

The National Native American Bar Association was founded in 1973 to advance justice for all Native Americans and the inclusion of Native Americans in all aspects and levels of the legal profession. NNABA is the national professional trade association for Native American lawyers, including members from American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities and tribes across the United States. Learn more at www.nativeamericanbar.org.