A new report published by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession in collaboration with the National Native American Bar Association details the experiences of Native American women lawyers as they navigate the intersection of race and gender in the legal profession.
Excluded & Alone: Examining the Experiences of Native American Women in the Law and a Path Towards Equity recounts personal stories of the challenges facing Native American women who choose to study and practice law. It is based on a qualitative research study conducted by Arin N. Reeves, Ph.D., president and managing director of Nextions LLC, in late 2022 and early 2023.
For the study, 74 Native American women lawyers were randomly chosen for interviews or to participate in group sessions out of an initial pool of 154 registrants. They shared personal stories about their journeys into and within the legal profession, including that they often felt isolated and alone among their peers, and sometimes endured painful incidents of harassment.
The report concludes with a detailed call to action for legal professionals—including individuals, law schools, bar associations and policy advocates, employers, and philanthropic organizations—urging efforts to:
- Learn about Native American women’s experiences, needs, and challenges
- Commit to sustained allyship and be an advocate
- Take deliberate and tangible supportive action
Findings from the report were presented by study co-chairs Commissioner Jin Y. Hwang and former NNABA President Linda Benally as part of the ABA Presidential Series webinar “Deb Haaland and Native American Women ‘Firsts’” on November 2. Access the video and slide deck from the presentation.