JUNEAU, AK (February 26, 2022) – The Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska congratulates tribal citizen and former Chief Justice Michelle Demmert who was recently appointed to the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit's (Judicial Council) Ad Hoc Committee on Tribal and Native Relations.
“I am extremely proud of Michelle and her leadership,” shared President Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson. “She rises to every opportunity to advocate for our people. I know she will be instrumental in representing all Indigenous peoples and an invaluable asset to this committee.”
The Judicial Council established the Ad Hoc Committee on Tribal and Native Relations in 2021 to identify methods of establishing better communications with and addressing issues related to tribal, Native, and Indigenous peoples’ groups.
When the ad hoc committee was established, no Ninth Circuit Judicial Council committee’s jurisdiction included issues related to tribal, Native, and Indigenous peoples.
Demmert will serve a term through September 30, 2024 and joins 11 other members on the Ad Hoc Committee on Tribal and Native Relations. Among other objectives, the committee is charged with making a recommendation to the Judicial Council in one year as to whether it should be established as a standing committee.
“The Ninth Circuit spans several states and includes over 300 tribes with a population of over 1 million people,” said Demmert. "This circuit sees many important Indigenous law cases each year. I am privileged to be appointed to this position and am excited to work with other dedicated leaders appointed to this committee based on their expertise."
Demmert has served in many roles as an advocate and community leader. She was appointed to serve as co-chair of the National Congress of American Indians Violence Against Women Task Force in 2018, currently serves as the Law & Policy Director for the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center and has been integral to Tlingit & Haida’s Tribal Court.
Demmert graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Psychology and a Juris Doctorate and is a licensed attorney in Washington. She retired from the bench, but still serves as pro tem for the Northwest Intertribal Court System where she served in various appointed judicial positions, including as chief judge and administrator and presiding judge for the Chehalis tribe for over twelve years.
Demmert is the daughter of Sharon and the late Lawrence Demmert Sr. of Klawock, Alaska. Her Tlingit name is Jaaghal.aat and she is Ch'aak' (Eagle) from the Kaax'oos.hittaan (Man's Foot) clan and the child of the Taakw.aaneidi.