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Stateside Podcast: Meet Judge Allie Greenleaf Maldonado

Judge Allie Greenleaf Maldonado
Gov. Whitmer Administration

Judge Allie Greenleaf Maldonado was of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians was recently appointed to the Michigan Court of Appeals. She’s the first tribal citizen appointed to this role.

Judge Maldonado grew up with stories of loved ones who were forcibly removed from their homes. Her's is part of a much larger history.

 Judge Allie Greenleaf Maldonado headshot
Gov. Whitmer Administration
Judge Allie Greenleaf Maldonado

For generations, Native children were placed against their will into boarding schools that aimed to erase Native culture. Many were abused, and kept away from their families. The last boarding school in the country was located in Harbor Springs, MI and did not close until 1983.

"My mother was removed. My grandmother was removed. All my great uncles were removed as part of the federal government's official policy of removing Indian children from their homes and communities in an effort to assimilate them," Judge Maldonado said. "I saw firsthand, up close and personal, how that practice impacted my family."

This history has led Judge Maldonado to a career in law; in-part to prevent such a practice from ever happening again. She currently serves as the Chief Judge of the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians Trial Court.

On the Stateside podcast Judge Maldonado talks about her family history, career, and what she hopes to accomplish in her new role on the Michigan Court of Appeals.


Judge Allie Greenleaf Maldonado, chief judge of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians


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Music in this episode by Blue Dot Sessions.

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Rachel Ishikawa joined Michigan Radio in 2020 as a podcast producer. She produced Kids These Days, a limited-run series that launched in the Summer of 2020.