Judge Abinanti Joins HAF Board, Brings Focus to Rural and Native Justice Issues

Abby Abinanti, Chief Justice of the Yurok Tribal Court and a Judge for Joint Family Wellness Courts, is the newest member of the Humboldt Area Foundation. Photo Courtesy Matt Mais / Yurok Tribe.

BAYSIDE, CA —Chief Judge Abby Abinanti of the Yurok Tribe, a longtime advocate for the creation of tribal value-based tribal justice systems, is the newest board member for Humboldt Area Foundation (HAF).

“We are beyond thrilled to have Judge Abby join the Humboldt Area Foundation’s board,” says Mary Keehn, chairperson of the HAF board. “Her experience with state and tribal justice systems and her unique approach to community building are going to be tremendous assets as we move forward with the board’s strategic vision. This will be a great benefit for our communities and a big step toward uniting the broad region Humboldt Area Foundation serves.”

Abinanti built the Yurok Tribal Court and its many programs from the ground up. Rooted in traditional cultural values, the cutting-edge court seeks to provide justice and life-changing services to people often failed by the conventional criminal justice system. A retired San Francisco Superior Court Commissioner and lifelong supporter of Native American rights, Abinanti is currently the Chief Justice of the Yurok Tribal Court and a Judge for Joint Family Wellness Courts in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. In these roles, she has positively influenced the lives of many local community members.
“First, I want to thank everyone on the Humboldt Area Foundation’s board for their kind welcome. I am looking forward to working with the board to imagine new ways to support all members of our community. I am excited to begin taking actions that benefit our shared communities for the long term,” says Abinanti.

Del Norte County resident and HAF board member David Finigan said Abinanti’s background is ideal for the board’s strategic objectives.

“Her experience in the Del Norte County region and Tribal Lands are sure to bolster the Foundation’s mission of leadership and inclusion,” said Finigan, who is also a board member for Wild Rivers Community Foundation, an affiliate of HAF. “I look forward to working with her to address vital community issues.”

About Judge Abinanti
Abby Abinanti, Yurok Chief Judge, is an enrolled Yurok Tribal member. She holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of New Mexico School of Law and was the first California tribal woman to be admitted to the State Bar of California. She was a State Judicial Officer (Commissioner) for the San Francisco Superior Court for over 17 years, assigned to the Unified Family Court (Family/Dependency/Delinquency).

Abinanti retired from the Superior Court in September 2011 and, on July 31, 2014, was reappointed as a part-time Commissioner for San Francisco assigned to Dependency, and Duty Judge for that Court, where she served until 2015. She has been a Yurok Tribal Court Judge since 1997 and was appointed Chief Tribal Court Judge in 2007, a position she held in conjunction with her Superior Court assignment until 2015.

About Humboldt Area Foundation
Vera Vietor established the Humboldt Area Foundation in 1972. Since then, more than $80 million in grants and scholarships have been awarded in Humboldt, Del Norte, Curry, and Trinity Counties. Humboldt Area Foundation promotes and encourages generosity, leadership, and inclusion to strengthen our communities.

For more information on services provided by the Foundation, please visit the Humboldt Area Foundation website at hafoundation.org or call (707) 442-2993.

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