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Judge Sara Hill (Cherokee) has been confirmed to serve on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, making history as the first Native American woman confirmed for a lifetime judicial appointment in the state. 

With Oklahoma home to 39 federally recognized Tribal Nations, Hill's confirmation is a meaningful step forward in ensuring the federal judiciary reflects the communities it serves. As the only active Native American federal judge in Oklahoma, Judge Hill brings a critical perspective and deep knowledge of federal Indian law.

 Hill served as the Cherokee Nation’s attorney general from 2019 until August 2023, during which she oversaw the restructuring of the tribe’s criminal prosecution after the Supreme Court’s McGirt v. Oklahoma decision in October 2019 removed Oklahoma’s authority to prosecute tribal members in a large swath of the state.

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“Judge Hill’s extensive experience serving the Cherokee Nation provides a strong background for her work in the Northern District of Oklahoma,” Native American Rights Fund Executive Director John Echohawk said in a statement. “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.”

 Hill's confirmation has also been praised by the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) President Mark Macarro. 

“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,” Macarro said in a statement. “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.” 

Hill will be the 10th Native American Article III federal judge to ever serve in the judiciary in the history of the United States. 

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