CTUIR Tribal Court holds ceremonial swearing-in for new judges


MISSION – Three associate judges of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) received a ceremonial oath of office and presentation of robes on Wednesday, April 17 inside the Tribal Court chamber.

CTUIR Chief Judge William Johnson ceremoniously swore in Naomi Stacy, Louisa Allman and Matthew Johnson before he and Associate Judges Doug Nash and David Gallagher gave custom CTUIR-inspired stoles to the trio.

Chief Judge Johnson told attendees that the expanded bench is an expression of the CTUIR’s sovereignty and demonstrates that “we are here; we are Indian people tied to this land and we’re going to be here for a long time.”

The tribal court, he said, is important because – unlike state and federal courts – CTUIR customs and traditions have an important role in decision making and “preserves the way we want to live – which is our old ways and our new ways.” 

“We want to do it ourselves and we want to do it our way,” Johnson said. 

Johnson added that the support and guidance of elders like Raymond “Popcorn” Burke, who was the court’s founding judge and former Chief Judge, has been vital to the Tribal Court’s development. He said he hopes Burke’s “kindness, mercy and wisdom pours out” in the court’s decisions and serves as a guide for the new judges. 

After taking their oath of office, the three new judges briefly spoke to attendees, acknowledging the support of family members over the years, thanking the more senior tribal court judges for their mentorship, and expressing how meaningful it was to them be serving their own people. 

“It’s a great honor to be in this position,” Allman said. “These three other judges (William Johnson, Nash and Gallagher) have been my mentors since I was 15. And who knew me being a little volunteer student clerk would have reached this? I appreciate all they have contributed to my career…. And I’m thankful for the honor the tribe has bestowed upon me to serve as an associate judge.”

Allman, who has a background in criminal justice focusing on children and adolescents, was appointed as a pro tem judge in August 2022 and has presided over child support hearings. She has an associate degree in business administration and is a certified paralegal.

Stacy thanked her parents and others who supported her legal dreams.

“I’m so grateful for this day and the path that led me here. I want to thank my mother Susan Lubrin, my father Emory Stacy and the countless people who have helped me along the way,” she said. “I can’t think of many people who weren’t supportive, who weren’t helpful and helped teach me on this journey, and I’m so grateful.”

William Johnson appointed Stacy as judge pro tem in May 2023. In the past 27 years, her employment and training include juvenile justice advocate, American Indian Law Pre-law Summer Institute teaching assistant, tribal prosecutor, natural resource policy analyst, tribal attorney, lobbyist, hearing officer and mediator. 

She is licensed to practice law before tribal, state and federal courts and has litigation experience at trial and appellate levels. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Washington and is a graduate of the Washburn School of Law.

Stacy and Allman are only the second and third women to serve as CTUIR judges. Lynn W. Hampton served as a CTUIR appellate judge before being appointed as a Circuit Court judge for Umatilla and Morrow counties in 2011 by then-Gov. Ted Kulongoski. 

Matthew Johnson shared some humor about initially trying on his robe during his remarks.

“I tried on my robe for the first time this morning, and my daughter told me I looked like a pilgrim,” he said. “I’m still getting used to it, but what is really hard to express is how honored I feel by the Board for putting this trust in me, putting this trust in us, to continue on the high standard of integrity and fairness that these judges have shown all these years. I hope to just live up to a little bit of the model and standards that they have set.”

A licensed attorney, Matthew Johnson has been the Tribal Court director/judicial assistant since April 2022. He earned a bachelor’s degree in American history from Willamette University and a juris doctorate from Lewis and Clark Law School.

Associate Judges Allman, Stacy and Johnson, all CTUIR members, were appointed by the CTUIR Board of Trustees (Board) for terms of 10 years on Nov. 13. The growing bench of tribal court judges will allow the tribal court to expand its capacity and allow Chief Judge Johnson and the other two elder associate judges – Doug Nash and David Gallaher – to focus more on appellate matters. 

The Tribal Court has sole criminal jurisdiction over Indian people on the Umatilla Indian Reservation and criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians who have been charged with domestic violence offenses under the Violence Against Women Act. It also has concurrent jurisdiction with Oregon for civil issues within the reservation.