Thursday, January 6, 2011

860 Federal Judges, 0 American Indians

There is an interesting aside to the recent events surrounding President Obama's recognition of the UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights.  Of 860 judges, no American Indians sit in the federal judiciary and none has ever been appointed to the federal appellate bench.

Natives are ignored for federal court appointments and tribal representation in Congress isn't representative.

 Mark Trahant, a Shoshone-Bannock writer waxes sagacious:

On the world stage, in the nation’s discourse, and even in regional and local affairs, the standard is clear: Tribes have a right (if not an obligation) to have their voices heard. Seven cabinet members attended the Tribal Nations Conference and many of those federal agencies are at least going through a process of consultation with tribes. But that moment is no longer enough. A year ago it was a big deal to meet. And even more so a second year. But a year from now it will only be a big deal if there are success stories that add jobs, improve the health or educational opportunities for young Native Americans.

Montana's Republican-glutted legislature and South Dakota's single-party Politburo are formulating statutes that mimic Arizona's anti-ethnic studies laws

Makes me wonder if there are enough lawyers that speak Crow or Lakota or Navajo or Yupik.

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