Justice is Medicine Awards

Celebrating Native Champions of Justice

The National Native American Bar Association (NNABA) proudly presents the inaugural Justice is Medicine Awards, an annual celebration of outstanding individuals who have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to advancing justice, equity, and the well-being of Native American peoples through the legal profession. Through the Justice is Medicine Awards, NNABA aims to spotlight the dedication, achievements, and impactful work of legal professionals who embody the spirit of advocacy, community service, and leadership.

The Justice is Medicine Awards will be presented at NNABA’s Annual Meeting on April 3, 2024 at the Sandia Resort in Albuquerque. Register for the meeting and secure your seat at dinner here.

About the Awards

The Justice is Medicine Awards are divided into three categories:

  • The Guardian of Justice Award recognizes those in the judiciary who have shown exemplary leadership, integrity, commitment to public services, and access to justice for Native Americans and all who are served by their court.
  • The Advocacy Warrior Award celebrates legal practitioners who have demonstrated exceptional excellence in legal practice advocating for Native American justice, rights, and tribal sovereignty.
  • The Community Keeper Award honors individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to promoting Native American equity, inclusion, and belonging within the legal profession.

NNABA honors the legacy and contributions of Native American legal professionals who inspire and lead by example. We celebrate their achievements and express our deepest gratitude for their dedication to justice and the well-being of Native communities.

Join us in recognizing the 2024 honorees of the Justice is Medicine Awards, as we continue to support and uplift the vital work being done by Native American legal professionals across the nation.

Guardian of Justice
The Honorable Lauren King
United States District Judge for the Western District of Washington

Judge King, a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, is a district court judge for the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle. She is the first Native American Article III judge in Washington state. Before assuming the bench in December 2021, Judge King was a partner at Foster Garvey, P.C. (formerly Foster Pepper PLLC) in Seattle. She chaired the firm’s Native American law practice group. Judge King also previously taught Federal Indian Law at the Seattle University School of Law and served as a Commissioner on the Washington State Gambling Commission. She also served as a pro tem appellate court judge for the Northwest Intertribal Court System from 2013 to 2021. Judge King received her Juris Doctor in 2008 from the University of Virginia School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington in 2004.

Advocacy Warrior
Arvo Mikkanen
Assistant United States Attorney and Senior Counsel for Tribal Relations for the Western District of Oklahoma

Arvo Q. Mikkanen, a Kiowa/Comanche attorney and Kiowa Tribe member, has had a distinguished legal career. A Yale Law School graduate (1986), Mikkanen has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma since 1994, handling over 750 criminal cases including violent crimes and serving in the civil division. He became the first Tribal Liaison in 1994 and was appointed Senior Counsel for Tribal Relations in April 2023. His earlier career included civil business practice, academic roles, and judicial positions in Native American legal systems. Mikkanen, a Dartmouth College graduate (1983), has earned numerous awards for his legal and pro bono work, and has been an active member and leader in various bar associations and legal education forums.

Community Keeper
Kate Rosier
Assistant Dean and Executive Director of the ASU Indian Legal Program

Kate Rosier (Comanche) serves as the Assistant Dean for Community Engagement and the Executive Director of the Indian Legal Program (ILP) at Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. In the Executive Director role Kate leads the ILP’s recruitment and retention efforts and has worked with over 1000 Native American students. Kate is responsible for the ILP’s programs, marketing, development and tribal partnerships. In 2015 she was responsible for bringing together an amazing team from various law schools and organizations to launch the national Native American Pathway to Law Initiative. The goal of this program is to help get more Native American students into law school by guiding pre-law students through the law school admissions process and helping to fund LSAT preparation courses.

Kate Rosier is licensed to practice law in Arizona and served as an Assistant General Counsel for the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and worked as a tribal prosecutor for the Gila River Indian Community. She also serves as the Board Secretary of the American Indian Law Center and is the former President of the Native American Bar Association of Arizona. Rosier received her JD from the University of Utah College of Law and a BA from Capital University.