, Muskogee, OK

January 18, 2014

THE PEOPLE SPEAK — Cherokee Nation mirrors Russia situation

— I recently viewed a segment of the program “Real Sports” on HBO dealing with Russia’s preparations for the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

Much of it dealt with corruption and cronyism in their government, how Putin stays in power by enriching himself and his friends while many Russians lack basic necessities.

Of course, their shiny new Olympic villages are presented to the rest of the world as progress and how all Russians are supposedly reaping the rewards of Putin’s leadership. The reporter even compared Putin to a Mafia don.

I couldn’t help but think of “Chief” Bill John Baker’s recent trip to Russia and how in many ways Cherokee Nation is currently a microcosm of the situation described above. Baker solidifies his power and enriches his family and buddies while many Cherokees struggle to make ends meet, and many are unemployed.

Baker’s group and their photo ops, websites, and stranglehold on the local media strive to present the promise of a few new clinics and homes as evidence of progress for all. Of course, this is just smoke and mirrors to distract us from the cronyism, nepotism, insider political favors and personal financial enrichment inherent to the Baker regime.

I hope the Cherokee people wake up, vote, and effect some real change in 2015 that benefits everyone, not just an “elite” few.

Geary Don Crofford