Mary L. Smith

• b. August 28, 1962 First Female Indigenous Heritage ABA President • Founder, Caroline and Ora Smith Foundation • Former Associate Director of White House Policy Planning

Series: Outstanding Native Women | Story 11

The American Bar Association (ABA) made history in 2023 when it installed Mary L. Smith as its first ever female Native American president. Prior to Smith's election to the ABA-which is the world's largest voluntary association of lawyers, judges, and legal professionals-Smith had already served on its board of governors and was its secretary from 2017 to 2020.

Born to Cherokee parents, Smith is a member of the Cherokee Nation. She is also former CEO of Indian Health Services (IHS). The six billion dollar agency is responsible for providing federal health services to over two million American...