U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg meets with Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor Victoria Mitchell Vazquez and Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor Victoria Mitchell Vazquez and Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. met with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Joan Bader Ginsburg recently. The two were in Washington, DC for the White House Tribal National Conference and were able to set up a special meeting with Justice Ginsberg.
“We thanked Justice Ginsburg for her well-reasoned dissenting opinion in the Veronica Brown case and many of her stances on our tribal issues. We also gifted her with a miniature of the original Cherokee Nation Supreme Court building, which is the oldest public building in the State of Oklahoma,” said Hoskin. “She appreciates our court system and it is important for us to meet with members of the judicial branch of federal government. It helps put a human face on what we do as a government, and I think that's important.”
Vazquez originally met Justice Ginsberg in 2000 at the renowned Santa Fe Indian Art market, where she operated a pottery booth with her mother, Annabelle (Sixkiller) Mitchell. Both artisans have been named Cherokee National Treasures and Vazquez vividly remembers the art Justice Ginsberg purchased: a Cherokee themed ceramic plate with a shell carving that was designed with four woodpecker heads.
“When this little woman in a big hat came to the booth and wanted to buy a piece we had already sold, I told her I could make something specifically for her. She handed me the business card and I was shocked to see she was a United States Supreme Court Justice,” Vazquez said.
Over the years Vazquez and Ginsberg maintained a friendship through letter correspondence.
“She is the nicest and sweetest woman,” Vazquez said. “Plus she is proud of me for my work as an artist, and now as a tribal council member.”
Cherokee Nation News Release
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