Sara Hill sworn in as one of first tribal special assistant US attorneys
TULSA, OKLAHOAMA — An attorney with the Cherokee Nation can now prosecute criminal cases occurring on Indian land in federal court after being sworn in as a tribal special assistant United States attorney.
Cherokee Nation Deputy Attorney General Sara Hill received the oath of office Wednesday in Tulsa from the Northern District of Oklahoma United States Attorney Danny Williams Sr.
Osage Nation Attorney General Jeff Jones was also sworn in, making them the first two tribal special assistant United States attorneys in the state.
“Indian Country can present challenges for prosecution. Certain crimes that are committed on Indian Country in the Cherokee Nation are prosecuted in tribal court, and others must be prosecuted by the United States,” said Hill, of Tahlequah. “I am honored that the United States and the Cherokee Nation have given me an opportunity to serve in this capacity, and hopefully the endeavor leads to safer communities.”
With nearly 15 tribes in the Northern District, Williams said the two tribal special assistant United States attorneys will help staff and prosecute more cases.
“Starting the SAUSA program will allow our office to expand and bring more cases, and will also forge better and deeper relationships with our tribes, particularly the Osage and Cherokee Nation,” Williams said.
Hill will serve a three-year term as a special assistant United States attorney.
“When an offense occurs in Indian Country, the Cherokee Nation and United States Attorney’s Office want a seamless and coordinated response,” said Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden. “Having Ms. Hill serve in this role will expand our ability to enforce justice in our tribal jurisdiction. This is a historic day for us as a tribal government, and this appointment enables us to better protect Cherokee citizens.”
Hill will continue representing the Cherokee Nation Office of the Attorney General in tribal courts in addition to her new appointment. She joined the tribe’s Attorney General’s office 10 years ago after earning her law degree from the University of Tulsa.