Angela Jones became the first female to serve on the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court under Principal Chief Bill John Baker, and only the second female ever to serve on the high court. Jones was sworn in at a ceremony on Wednesday.
Jones, 43, will serve a 10-year term on the tribe’s five-member Supreme Court bench.
The Supreme Court interprets Cherokee Nation laws, deciding a multitude of cases brought into the Cherokee court system, ranging from child custody to citizenship issues, to other cases affecting the Cherokee people and its policies.
“Historically, the Cherokee Nation has been a matriarchal society and has always looked to strong women for guidance and leadership. That is why it is critical to have women serving in the Nation’s judicial branch today,” said Baker.
“The diversity and depth of experience Angela Jones brings as a prosecutor, defender and civil attorney in Cherokee and Muskogee counties will serve our citizens well. I believe her commitment to Cherokee juveniles and families is second to none, and I know she will have the Cherokee people in her heart in every action as a Supreme Court justice.”
The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council approved Jones’ appointment Dec. 10. Jones replaces former Chief Justice Darrell Matlock Jr., whose term expired Dec. 31.
“I want to thank members of the Tribal Council and Chief Baker for this opportunity and their confidence in my abilities,” Jones said. “This is, to me, the highest honor as a Cherokee citizen, and I am very proud to be able to support and protect the Constitution for the Cherokee Nation and its citizens.”
Jones has been practicing law for nearly 20 years in Tahlequah and Muskogee.
She served as the assistant district attorney for Muskogee County from 1995 to 1996, and for Cherokee County in 2007. Jones has also maintained a private practice in Tahlequah for several years. ,She previously served the Cherokee Nation as a hearing officer for the tribe’s administrative appeals board.
She lives in Tahlequah with her husband, Stephen, and has three children, Lindsey and Spencer Risenhoover and Wyatt Jones.