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McKeig Sworn-in as 94th Supreme Court Justice

Anne K. McKeig dons her robes as the 94th associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court during a public investiture ceremony Thursday. (Submitted photo) 1 / 3
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Anne McKeig is sworn in as the 94th associate justice to the Minnesota Supreme Court. McKeig is a descendant of the White Earth Ojibwe, and is the first Native American to serve on Minnesota’s highest court. She is also the first female Native American in the country to serve on any state’s highest court. (Submitted photo) 3 / 3

Anne K. McKeig was sworn in as the 94th associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court during a public investiture ceremony Thursday.

McKeig was raised in Federal Dam, which borders the Leech Lake Ojibwe Reservation. She is a descendant of the White Earth Ojibwe, and is the first Native American to serve on Minnesota's highest court. She is also the first female Native American in the country to serve on any state's highest court.

The swearing-in ceremony was at the O'Shaughnessy Auditorium on the campus of St. Catherine University in St. Paul.

In her remarks, McKeig spoke to the historic significance of her appointment:

"To Gov. Dayton—Chi Miigwetch for having faith in a young woman from Federal Dam, born, raised and Minnesota educated. You have made history in allowing me to be the first Native American woman appointed to the state's highest court—in all of the United States. I am prepared with the love and support of my community to demonstrate that your decision was one of great vision and wisdom not because you chose me but because you appreciate the role that native nations have played in the history of our great state. By this appointment you have built an historic bridge."

Prior to her appointment to the Minnesota Supreme Court, McKeig served as a district court judge in the Fourth Judicial District, and was the presiding judge in the Fourth District's Family Court. She was appointed to the bench in 2008 by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. She previously worked as an assistant Hennepin County attorney in the Child Protection Division for over 16 years, where she specialized in indian child welfare cases.

McKeig is currently an adjunct professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, a trainer for the Minnesota Department of Human Services, past chair and current board member of the Board of the Division of Indian Work, and a member of the Speakers Bureau for the National Child Protection Training Center. She is also a frequent speaker at many local and national conferences on the issue of Indian Child Welfare, and is a descendant of White Earth Nation.

McKeig earned her bachelor's degree from St. Catherine University and her law degree from Hamline University School of Law.

McKeig was presented at the ceremony by Dayton, who appointed her to the Minnesota Supreme Court in June to replace retiring Associate Justice Christopher J. Dietzen.

Speaking on behalf of McKeig at the investiture ceremony were Robert A. Blaeser, chief judge of the White Earth Tribal Court; Noya Woodrich, former president and CEO of the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches; and Brittney Miller, a former law clerk of McKeig's, who is now an attorney at Moss & Barnett.

President Robin Wolpert presented remarks on behalf of the Minnesota State Bar Association, and President Philip Brodeen spoke on behalf of the Minnesota American Indian Bar Association.

Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea administered the oath of office. McKeig's mother, Cecelia McKeig, and daughter, Tayana Osuna, held the Bible. McKeig's husband, Jose Osuna, and children—Balam Osuna, Xicotencatl Osuna, Itzel Osuna, Caleb Osuna, and Tayana Osuna—assisted with the robing.

The event featured a drum circle performance by students from the Northland Eagles Drum Group from Northland High School in Remer, McKeig's former high school. The White Earth Color Guard posted the colors for the event.