Huerta also played a pivotal role in drafting the
Pascua Yaqui Tribal Constitution and in obtaining
trust lands and federal benefits for the Pascua
Yaqui Tribe. He was the first Native
American to be appointed to the Arizona Industrial
Commission where he served for six
In 1967, he was appointed to
the Maricopa County Superior Court and filled his
judicial responsibilities with distinction.
A strong proponent for education, Judge Huerta
also served as Chancellor of the newly created
Navajo Community College (now Diné
his life, Judge Huerta has been a champion of
Native American legal rights and equal educational
opportunity. He has touched the lives of
thousands as an advocate, a mentor, a judge, a
nation builder, an author, a colleague, and a
friend. Coming from humble roots, he
succeeded in the highest echelons of the legal
profession. By his own example, Judge Huerta has
shown the value of hard work, fierce
determination, generosity of spirit, and absolute
Huerta spoke at the IPLP graduation ceremony
responding to the announcement that he will
receive the College's Lifetime Achievement
Award. He offered his humble thanks for the
award and -- consonant with his character --
shared the story of his own graduation.
Judge Huerta was nearing graduation from law
school, his parents were told that it is
traditional to provide your child with a
graduation gift. They wanted to demonstrate
their pride in his achievements, but with only
limited resources an expensive present was out of
the question. So his mother began to craft a
statue of Lady Justice out of clay and
papier-mâché, while his father carved the woodwork
for the scales.
Huerta brought the finished statue to the
ceremony, sharing this extraordinary demonstration
of love and encouragement from his parents.
The beautiful statue had become one of his most
treasured possessions. He noted that for 60
years he had not been able to thank them publicly
for the deeply meaningful gift, and sharing his
story was a way to thank them.
Huerta then stunned everyone in the room when he
announced that he was giving the statue as a gift
to the College so that it may be preserved and
serve as a symbol of hope, opportunity, and
justice for generations to come.
his tenacity, his talents, and his commitment to
the law, the Arizona Law faculty voted to bestow
on Judge Huerta the Lifetime Achievement Award.
While this award will be formally presented at a
future event, we took advantage of the opportunity
at the reception to recognize Judge Huerta and
celebrate his many accomplishments.
was my pleasure to honor Judge Huerta for his
valuable contributions to the profession, and I
invite you to see Judge Huerta's gift, which will
be permanently displayed in the library.