Bryan, Susan Montoya. “American Indians ask for voice on federal court.” Associated Press. July 2, 2010
Many in the American Indian community felt that President Barack Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the United States Supreme Court was a wasted opportunity to nominate an American Indian to the court. The National Native American Bar Association and the National Congress of American Indians sent lists and qualifications of qualified American Indians to the White House prior to Kagan’s nomination.
Out of the 860 federal judgeships in the United States, none are held by someone of American Indian descent. Only two have served in the history of the nation. Many Indians are frustrated since the Supreme Court has judgment over their lands and families while they are not represented.
Educational and cultural barriers, the lack of political influence and the federal judicial nominating process are just a few of the factors that American Indians blame for their lack of representation. The Native bar association named John Echohawk, Kevin Gover, Arlinda Locklear and Larry Echohawk as prime candidates to be chosen for judicial positions.
Many Native American candidates get passed over because they choose to spend a majority of their careers helping their tribes or communities instead of climbing up the political ladder. This causes their experience to be misunderstood or dismissed.