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Former Cherokee Nation Attorney General Sara E. Hill was nominated on Wednesday  to become a federal district judge for the Northern District of Oklahoma.

She must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. If confirmed, Hill would be the fourth active Native American federal district court judge in the country, the seventh in the history of the federal judiciary, and the first Native American woman federal judge in the state of Oklahoma.

Hill served as Attorney General of the Cherokee Nation from 2019 to 2023. She is currently a lawyer in private practice. 

The president's nomination of Hill was well received by Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr. who worked closely with her while she was the tribal nation's attorney general. In a statement to Native News Online, Chief Hoskin called Hill a brilliant attorney and dedicated public servant. 

“The Cherokee Nation could not be more proud of former Cherokee Nation Attorney General Sara Hill who will make an excellent federal judge. Deputy Chief and I are so pleased that President Biden announced today that she is among his nominees and call for her prompt confirmation by the US Senate." Chief Hoskin said in the statement. "

She is a brilliant attorney and dedicated public servant who possesses the knowledge, demeanor, and compassion to serve the country well on the bench. As a female and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, she not only adds diversity to the ranks of federal judges, she also brings knowledge of Indian Country issues that we need more of among federal judges.  Sara Hill will bring to the Northern District the same high level of legal expertise, work ethic and sense of fairness that she brought to her job as Cherokee Nation’s Attorney General during four of the most challenging years in our tribal history."

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) released a joint statement on Wednesday supporting  Hill’s nomination.

“Hill has had a long career in civil service, including as the Attorney General and the Secretary of Natural Resources for the Cherokee Nation. She has litigated at all levels of state and federal court on a diverse range of issues including the Nation’s treaty rights and the preservation of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

“NCAI strongly supports President Biden’s nomination of Sara Hill, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, to be the first-ever Native American woman to sit on the federal bench in the state of Oklahoma,” said NCAI Executive Director Larry Wright, Jr. “Sara Hill will bring unparalleled experience in law and policy to our justice system. NCAI urges the swift confirmation of Ms. Hill as the nomination moves before the U.S. Senate.”

“Sara Hill has a strong history of public service and possesses excellent qualifications to be a federal judge,” said Native American Rights Fund Executive Director John Echohawk. “We applaud the Biden Administration’s selection of this historic nominee and urge her confirmation. She will be a strong addition to the federal judiciary in Oklahoma.”

NARF and NCAI have long advocated for increasing Native representation in the federal court system. It is imperative to have federal judges who understand the unique relationship between the United States and Tribal Nations and who reflect a more diverse swath of the districts that they serve.

In total, Hill spent 20 years working on behalf of the Cherokee Nation. Previous to serving as attorney general, she served the Cherokee Nation as Secretary of Natural Resources from 2015 to 2019, Deputy Attorney General from 2014 to 2015, and an Assistant Attorney General from 2004 to 2014. From 2014 to 2015, she served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Oklahoma. 

Hill received her J.D. from the University of Tulsa in 2003 and her B.A., cum laude, from Northeastern State University in 2000.

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