WCBA to hold Peacemaking Awards Dinner Nov. 20

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 The Washtenaw County Bar Association will celebrate National Native American Heritage Month with a Peacemaking Award Dinner on Thursday, November 20, at Weber’s Inn, 3050 Jackson Ave., Ann Arbor, with a Social Hour at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m., with a choice of prime rib of beef, or crab cakes.

The guest speaker is the Hon. William A. Thorne, Jr., State of Utah, Court of Appeals, the first Native American appointed to the Utah Bench. 
Thorne, who is Pomo and Coast Miwok from northern California and enrolled at the Confederated Tribes of the Graton Rancheria, earned his undergrad degree from the University of Santa Clara and his J.D. from Stanford Law School. After admittance to the Utah Bar, he practiced at Echo Hawk and Thorne, where he represented individuals and businesses, with an emphasis on Federal Indian Law; as well as representing the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. 
He became a tribal court judge in 1980, with an appointment as a pro tem judge at the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Court; and he has since served as tribal judge in 11 states for numerous tribes. Appointed to the Third Circuit Court in Salt Lake City in 1986, he served as a circuit court judge until 1994 when he was appointed a Third Judicial District Court Judge. Six years later, Gov. Leavitt appointed him to The Utah State Court of Appeals where he has served ever since. The former president of the National Indian Justice Center, Thorne has served on many boards and committees, and is a leading expert on policies and programs to support children, particularly Native American children and their families.
In another highlight of the dinner, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Michael F. Cavanagh, and Chief Judge Michael Petoskey, Tribal Court, will be honored with the Nelson Mandela Peacemaking Award. In 2000 the pair was honored by the American Indian Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan with the annual Tecumseh Peacekeeping Award.
Cavanagh, a resident of East Lansing, earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Detroit, and his law degree from the University of Detroit Law School, before clerking for the Michigan Court of Appeals. Hired as an assistant city attorney for the City of Lansing in 1967, he then was appointed Lansing City Attorney, serving until 1969. He became a partner in the Lansing law firm of Farhat, Burns and Story, P.C. Elected judge of the 54-A District Court in 1972, he served from 1973-1975, before becoming the youngest person ever elected to the Michigan Court of Appeals. He was elected to the state Supreme Court in 1982 and re-elected in 1990, 1998, and 2006. Serving as Chief Justice from 1991-95, his current term expires on January 1.
Cavanagh, who has participated in numerous community and professional activities, served as Supreme Court Liaison, Michigan Indian Tribal Courts/Michigan State Courts since 1990, and has attended many national Indian Law conferences and participated in Federal Bar Association Tribal Court symposiums.
Petoskey, who was appointed as the Pokagon Band’s first chief judge in 2002, is a Grand Traverse Band member, a licensed Michigan attorney, a Viet Nam veteran, and has served as a judge for several Michigan Indian tribes since 1986.
He planned, implemented and developed the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians Tribal Court, while a staff attorney for Michigan Indian Legal Services. He was chief judge for his tribe for over 16 years until he retired from that position. In 2006 he retired from the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians after nine years as chief judge, after starting the court there. He is retired as chief justice of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Court of Appeals, a position he held for a decade from 1999 to 2009. He also served as an associate justice of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan Court of Appeals from 2002 to 2006. In 1992 the Michigan Bar Journal recognized Petoskey as a Citizen Lawyer for his contributions in law to the tribal community; and in 1999 the Grand Traverse Band Tribal Court was one of 16 tribal programs nationwide honored by The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. 
For more information on the Peacemaking dinner, contact the WCBA, at 734-994-4912 or email newtonc@ewashtenaw.org. The deadline for reservations is Friday, November 14.
 

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