- By Native News Online Staff
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan (White Earth Ojibwe) announced on Friday the appointment of Sarah Wheelock, a tribal citizen of the Meskwaki Nation (Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi), to sit on the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
Wheelock will be the first Native American to sit on the state’s second-highest court. Walz appointed Wheelock to fill the seat vacated by Carol A. Hooten, who is scheduled to retire on Nov. 30, 2021.
Currently, Wheelock serves as legal counsel for the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community in Prior Lake, Minn. Previously she worked as an adjunct professor at Mitchell Hamline College of Law and as an appellate judge for the White Earth Band of Chippewa Court of Appeals.
“It is my honor to appoint Sarah Wheelock to the Minnesota Court of Appeals,” said Governor Walz. “In her time serving as legal counsel for the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and tribes across the nation, Ms. Wheelock has repeatedly shown that she is a dedicated public servant committed to advancing the common good. She is well prepared to join the Court of Appeals.”
“Sarah Wheelock is a brilliant legal mind with a deep understanding of the laws of the land,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “Her life experience, longstanding service to her community, and her extensive legal background provide her with a unique perspective that will be invaluable in her new position. I’m thrilled by her appointment.”
Her vast legal experience includes litigation in tribal, federal, and state courts, as well as economic development and finance work. Wheelock earned her B.A. and J.D. from the University of Iowa.
Casey Matthiesen, president of the Minnesota American Indian Bar Association, celebrated Wheelock's "historic appointment" in a statement Friday.
"With this appointment, American Indians now serve at every level of the state judiciary," Matthiesen said. "Sarah Wheelock is an exceptional lawyer, and we are confident that she will serve in the judiciary with distinction."
In 2016, then Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Anne McKeig (White Earth Ojibwe) to serve on the Minnesota Supreme Court. With her appointment, she became the first Native American to sit on the state’s highest court.
More Stories Like ThisNative News Weekly (May 15, 2022): D.C. Briefs
Native Bidaské (Spotlight) with Carlisle Indian School Project Leader Gwen Carr
Indigenous Women on Roe v. Wade
Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding Schools Bill Advocated for in Washington, D.C.
Alaska’s First Investigator Focused on Missing and Murdered Indigenous People is a Veteran of the Troopers
Do you appreciate a Native perspective on the news?
For the past decade-plus, we’ve covered the important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests, to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools, we have been there to provide a Native perspective and elevate Native voices.
Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked. Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10. Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news.
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.