Journey to the gavel began in middle school

Journey to the gavel began in middle school
(Angel Ellis/Reporter )Shannon Prescott was sworn in as the first woman to the MCN District Court on April 7 surrounded by family peers and MCN Officials. She said it was a dream she had been working towards since middle school.

Angel Ellis/Reporter

Prescott sworn in as first woman in MCN District Court

OKMULGEE, Ok — Shannon Prescott, a Muscogee (Creek) Citizen and attorney was sworn in April 8, making her the first woman to ever hold a District Judge position with the MCN. Her journey to the gavel and robes began when she was just child.

 Prescott said her grandfather had a significant role in her journey.  When she was in middle school, her grandfather took her to meet MCN Principal Chief Claude Cox.

“He said to Chief Cox, ‘Don’t get too comfortable in that chair this little girl is going to be chief someday,’ and as my interest in a career developed that made me think about what was the highest honor in the legal field for my tribe and that would be District Judge,” She said. “My grandfather saw a lot in me and my abilities to be a leader at a young age, and that is something I aspired to do.”

Her professional interests lead her down a different path as she took an interest in law rather than pursuing the office of Principal Chief.

“My grandfather saw a lot in me and my abilities to be a leader at a young age, and that is something I aspired to do,” Prescott said. “This was a dream come true to be considered.”

While Prescott will be the first woman to wear the judicial robes in an MCN District Court, this will not be her first time as Judge. She also has experience to working in law at MCN. Prescott previously served as MCN Tribal Prosecutor and she is District Judge for the Delaware Nation.

“I have served about three years of a six-year term,” Prescott said.  “I was not about to just walk in (to MCN District Judge) without having earned that.”

As a woman in law, Prescott never wanted her achievements to be a reflection of special treatment because she was a woman.

“You don’t advance the women’s movement just by being put into a position because of your gender,” Prescott said.

She said that the Delaware Nation duties are on a smaller scale but that it has given her valuable experience and insights.

She said she feels prepared to take on the job despite the challenges of serving citizens in a close-knit community.

“It is about a professional relationship,” Prescott said. “People always ask about the political side of the side, that doesn’t come into play, I don’t care who you are, I follow the law.”

Prescott says she has already been tested in that political sense.

“The very chief that swore me in had a case before me, and I ruled against him,” Prescott said. “He took it up to the supreme court, and my decision was upheld.”

“I believe everyone should be treated fairly because that is what the law provides.”

Prescott will be the MCN District Court Family Law Division Judge.

In her nearly 20 years of practice, Prescott has focused on representing tribal citizens in tribal courts as well as in state courts. Her current practice areas encompass all family law issues, including but not limited to, divorce, paternity, juvenile deprived/delinquent, guardianship, adoption and GAL appointments.

She said that becoming a mother has changed the way she comes to decisions now.

“Your world changes when you have children,” Prescott said. “Whether representing a mom who is trying to get her child back or working on behalf of a child who is being reunified with her parents I wear my decisions.”

She says her approach now comes from a more holistic whole family perspective.

“I want our families to be healthy,” Prescott said.

Prescott serves primarily as a family law practitioner in Okmulgee County.  She received a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Northeastern State University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa, College of Law.

Prescott also specializes in training law enforcement, prosecutors and other professionals in the areas of domestic violence and courtroom security.  She has served as a contract instructor with the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), Department of Homeland Security and the National Sheriff’s Association.

She also provides Indian Child Welfare Act training to the Department of Human Services, tribal agencies, and CASA.  She proudly serves as an Associate Editor for the Oklahoma Bar Journal Board of Editors.

In 2017, she was honored by the Oklahoma Bar Association with the 2017 Mona Salyer Lambird Spotlight Award for her work with children. The Spotlight Award is given annually to women who have distinguished themselves in the legal profession and lighted the way for other wom0en.

Prescott hopes as the first woman to .serve in this position she will leave a unique legacy.

“I would like people to look back in my time on the court in a positive way that reflects good on our Nation and have little girls can say it is possible to be a Judge, a lawyer or reporter,” Prescott said.

Prescott is a proud citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, being of both Mvskoke and Euchee heritage. Her native culture has influenced her legal career greatly.

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