Indianz.Com > News > ‘For all of Indian Country’: Native woman judge makes history in Michigan
Allie Greenleaf Maldonado
Allie Greenleaf Maldonado. Photo: Michigan Supreme Court Public Information Office
‘For all of Indian Country’
Native woman judge makes history in Michigan
Tuesday, December 6, 2022

A Native person will serve on one of the highest courts in Michigan for the first time in state history.

Allie Greenleaf Maldonado, a citizen of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, will be the first Native person to serve on the the Michigan Court of Appeals. The historic appointment was announced by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) on Tuesday.

“I am humbled and honored to be trusted by Governor Whitmer for this appointment to the Michigan Court of Appeals,” Maldonado said in a news release.

Maldonado currently serves as Chief Judge of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Trial Court. She also has worked for a number of other tribal courts in Michigan.

Nationally, Maldonado is recognized as an expert on the Indian Child Welfare Act. Since February 2020, she he has helped address ICWA and other tribal law issues as part of the Michigan Committee on Juvenile Justice.

“I look forward to taking all of my professional experience and diligently applying it to the work ahead of me,” Maldonado said.

“This is a moment of importance not just for me, but for all of Indian Country as the Governor’s wisdom in this appointment sends a message about the critical importance of the work of tribal courts,” Maldonado added. “I am grateful to the Governor and her team, and I look forward to giving all of Michigan my best.”

Whitmer announced the appointment of Judge Maldonado during the Tribal Summit on Tuesday. The meeting has ben hosted by the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians in the Upper Peninsula.

“It was an honor to attend the Tribal Summit in the Sault,” Whitmer. “The State of Michigan and sovereign tribal nations must continue working together on our shared priorities and maintain an open, productive dialogue to get things done on the kitchen-table issues.”

“I am committed to working alongside Tribal leaders to make a real difference in people’s lives and continue growing our economies.”   Whitmer continued. “Our fortunes are linked, and we must collaborate to move our nations forward.”  

The Tribal Summit brought together leaders of the 12 federally recognized tribes in Michigan.