A council member for the Fort Yuma Quechan Indian Tribe in Yuma County died Saturday after contracting COVID-19, according to the tribe's president.
Claudette C. White died almost a month after being sworn in to the tribal council Jan. 4, 2021. Throughout her life, White also served on the Quechan and San Manuel tribal courts. She was the Chief Judge of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Tribal Court from 2018 to 2020.
Quechan President Jordan D. Joaquin wrote in a press release that White implemented tribal customs and traditions while in court, stepping away from standard punishments.
She also served as a trial and appellate judge in a variety of tribal courts in Arizona. The Native Nation Law and Policy Center out of UCLA called her in a Facebook post "a gift to the Indigenous legal community."
White was known for her expertise in Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The San Manuel tribal government says she helped tribal youth educate communities and support those impacted by human trafficking.