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Retired Navajo Nation Supreme Court Associate Justice Dies From COVID-19

The Honorable Justice Lorene B. Ferguson. (Used by Permission of the Navajo Nation.)

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer announced the death of retired Navajo Nation Supreme Court Justice Lorene B. Ferguson.

Justice Ferguson died Monday from complications related to COVID-19, a news release said.

President Nez said in a statement, “The Navajo Nation mourns the loss of a loving mother and one of the first women justices to serve on the Navajo Nation Supreme Court. Our thoughts and prayers are with her children, relatives, and all of her friends and former colleagues. As we recognize National Women’s History Month, we take this opportunity to honor and remember all of Justice Ferguson’s contributions to the Navajo people.”

In addition, the statement said, “There is no doubt that she helped and empowered many throughout her lifetime. We ask our Creator for strength and comfort for her family during this difficult time.”

 The Navajo Nation Council confirmed Justice Ferguson’s nomination as an Associate Justice in 2001. She was appointed as acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 2004-05. A news release said she retired in 2007.

Fergusson had a long career as a Navajo Tribal Court Judge and a staff attorney at the Navajo Nation Department of Justice.

“The Judicial Branch sends condolences to a pivotal member of the Judicial Branch of the Navajo Nation. We pay our utmost respect for our nat’áaanii as someone who exemplified the best of our Navajo people. She was a role model for her serious thinking on complex issues and the responsibility she took in being a Supreme Court justice. She was also well-known across Indian Country for her work in the legal field,” said Chief Justice JoAnn B. Jayne in a statement from the Navajo Nation Judicial Branch. 

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