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On last week’s edition of Native Bidaské, Native News Online's Publisher and Editor Levi Rickert welcomed newly appointed Judge Allie Greenleaf Maldonado, who was appointed to the Michigan Court of Appeals by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer on December 6, 2022 at the 2022 State-Tribal Summit.

Respected throughout Indian Country for her work in Indian law, Maldonado is a citizen of Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa (LTBB). She is a University of Michigan Law School graduate and currently serves as the Chief Judge of LTBB’s Trial Court. She has also served as the pro tem judge for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, Little River Band of Ottawa, and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa.

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During her remarks accepting the appointment, Maldonado expressed her gratitude to Governor Whitmer. And, she thanked the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe, the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan, the three tribes where she has served a judge on their tribal courts. 

“But what fills me with the most gratitude is that because of this moment, the next seven generations of tribal children, they won’t have to look down before they dream up,” Maldonado said.

Rickert asked Maldonado what her message to Native youth is beyong her "dream up" remark. 

"For me, I really didn't have an example to look to be a lawyer, never mind being a judge, and so I never really never wrapped my mind around this beign a possibility," Maldonado said. "What I want to say is find your mentors. Find the people that in your community, and even those who aren't that can help you."

Makdonado also spoke of her grandmother who attended Indian boarding schools and the impact it left on her family. 

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These stories must be heard.

This May, we are highlighting our coverage of Indian boarding schools and their generational impact on Native families and Native communities. Giving survivors of boarding schools and their descendants the opportunity to share their stories is an important step toward healing — not just because they are speaking, but because they are being heard. Their stories must be heard. Help our efforts to make sure Native stories and Native voices are heard in 2024. Please consider a recurring donation to help fund our ongoing coverage of Indian boarding schools. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous-centered journalism. Thank you.

About The Author
Neely Bardwell
Author: Neely BardwellEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Neely Bardwell (descendant of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indian) is a staff reporter for Native News Online. Bardwell is also a student at Michigan State University where she is majoring in policy and minoring in Native American studies.