Tlingit & Haida welcomes Cheryl Demmert Fairbanks, Esq. as the newly appointed Associate Justice for Tribal Court!
As an Associate Justice, Fairbanks will serve on Tlingit & Haida's Supreme Court and hear all appeals of Trial Court or subordinate Court decisions. In appeals brought before it, the Supreme Court shall determine whether the Court’s factual findings are supported by substantial evidence and whether its conclusions are in accordance with the law.
"I am most challenged and honored to serve as a Justice for our Court," Fairbanks said. "I truly believe that sovereignty begins at home."
Fairbanks is Tlingit-Tsimpshian and was born in Ketchikan, Alaska. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from Fort Lewis College in 1969 and her Juris Doctorate in 1987 from the University of New Mexico.
Fairbanks currently works in the area of Indian law as an Attorney and Tribal Court of Appeals Justice, and serves as the Senior Policy Advisor for the University of New Mexico (UNM), Native American Budget and Policy Institute. Her legal practice and consultation services concentrate on tribal-state relations, personnel, tribal courts, peacemaking and family conferencing, mediation, family, school, education, and indigenous law.
Fairbanks previously served as a visiting Professor of Law at the UNM’s Southwest Indian Law Clinic and Lewis & Clark College, and also worked as a Senior Policy Analyst with the New Mexico Office of Indian Affairs. As Senior Policy Analyst, she was instrumental in establishing the Indian Child Welfare Desk, New Mexico Office of Indian Tourism, UNM's Indian Law Clinic, and the passage of the New Mexico Indian Arts and Crafts Act.