Yvonne Kauger

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Yvonne Kauger
Associate Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court
Assumed office
March 11, 1984
Appointed byGeorge Nigh
Preceded byRalph B. Hodges
Chief Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court
In office
January 2007 – December 2008
Personal details
Born (1937-08-03) August 3, 1937 (age 84)
New Cordell, Oklahoma, U.S.
Spouse(s)Ned Bastow
EducationColony High School
Alma materSouthwestern Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma City University School of Law

Yvonne Kauger (born August 3, 1937) is an Associate Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, and was appointed to the Court's District 4 seat by Governor George Nigh in 1984, and served as Chief Justice from 1997 to 1998. She was born in New Cordell, Oklahoma, and grew up in Colony, Oklahoma, and is an honorary member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma.[1] Kauger founded the Gallery of the Plains Indian in Colony, Oklahoma and is also the co-founder of the Red Earth organization.[2] Kauger also serves as Symposium Coordinator of the Sovereignty Symposium. Kauger was inducted into the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame in 2001.[3]

Early life[edit]

Kauger was born in New Cordell, Oklahoma, and grew up in Colony, Oklahoma, where she helped her parents John and Alice Kauger with various chores on the family farm including picking cotton. Upon getting her driver's license, Kauger accepted a summer job at a small law firm. She was the valedictorian of her graduating class at Colony High School in 1955. Her time with the small law firm inspired her to pursue her law degree.[4]


Kauger attended Southwestern Oklahoma State University where she majored in biology and minored in both chemistry and English. She graduated in three years and worked as a medical technician at a medical arts lab for five years after graduating from an internship program at Saint Anthony Hospital. Kauger used this profession to fund her dream of becoming a lawyer. Kauger received her law degree at Oklahoma City University School of Law in 1969, where she graduated first in her law school class.[5]

Upon graduation, Kauger had received many job offers and worked in a private practice for Senator Cleeta John Rogers for two and a half years. After this, Kauger worked for Justice Ralph B. Hodges as a clerk for eleven and a half years before she was appointed to succeed Justice Hodges on the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

Oklahoma Supreme Court[edit]

Kauger was appointed to the Court by Governor George Nigh in 1984, and was one of the first two women appointed to the Court along with Alma Wilson. She served as Chief Justice from January 2007 to December 2008.

In 1986, Chief Justice John B. Doolin appointed Justice Kauger to establish and coordinate the Sovereignty Symposium, which has become an annual two-day event sponsored by the Oklahoma Supreme Court.[a] The Symposium is held in the renovated Judicial Center building [b] in Oklahoma City. The symposium attracts national and international experts and tribal leaders to discuss topics connected to art, law and history. Such issues can be exchanged in a scholarly, non-adversarial environment.[6]

After the Judicial Center renovation was complete, Kauger decorated it with 70 pieces of Native American art works that she found in the Oklahoma History Center archives. She then collaborated with writer Gayleen Rabakukk and photographer Neil Chapman, while she served as editor herself.[6]


  • Kauger was inducted in the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame in 2001.
  • Governor's Arts Awards
  • Woman of the Year by the Oklahoma City Chapter of Business and Professional Women's Club (1984)
  • Adopted by the Cheyenne-Arapaho tribes (1984)
  • Selected by High Noon as Woman of the Year (1985)
  • Honorary doctorate from Oklahoma City University (1991)
  • Herbert Harley Award by the American Judicature Society (1999)
  • Inducted into the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame (2001)
  • District State-Federal Judicial Council Hall of Fame
  • Co-founded annual Red Earth Festival.[7]
  • Washita County Hall of Fame
  • First Coordinator of the Sovereignty Symposium (2016)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Doolan was well aware that Kauger had long been a student of Native American art and culture, though she had no Native American ancestry herself.[6]
  2. ^ formerly known as the Historical Center building


  1. ^ "Justice Yvonne Kauger". The Supreme Court of the State of Oklahoma. Archived from the original on 2013-02-22.
  2. ^ "Red Earth". redearth.org. Red Earth Museum. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  3. ^ "Yvonne Kauger". okciviljustice.com. Oklahoma Civil Justice Council. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  4. ^ Nykolaiszyn, Juliana (May 12, 2009). "Oral history interview with Yvonne Kauger". Inductees of the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame Oral History Project. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  5. ^ "Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Yvonne Kauger - 1986". SWOSU Alumni Association. 1986. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  6. ^ a b c Allen, Cindy. "Justice Yvonne Kauger doing her part to preserve, honor Native American culture." okc Friday. Undated. Accessed May 20, 2019.
  7. ^ Francis-Smith, Janice. "Yvonne Kauger Has Built a Hefty Resume in Her Role as the OK Supreme Court's Only Female Justice." The Journal-Record. August 3, 2006. Accessed May 23, 2019.

External links[edit]