While purveyor of cheap furniture and slum lord Bill John Baker jet-sets to Russia and other exotic locales, here is a look back at his administration’s numerous failures and broken promises during his first year in office as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation:
• Appointed several non-Cherokees, including Kalyn Free, to positions with exorbitant salaries, and initiated a loss of transparency on hiring relatives without disclosing the inherent conflicts of interest.
• Numerous Cherokees were terminated or “reorganized” out of jobs, despite BJB’s election promises (lies) that this would not happen.
• Oversaw the return of his shady collaborators who almost destroyed the Cherokee Nation during The Crisis of the late 1990s, including Chuck Hoskin Sr., Charles Head, Joe Byrd, and others.
• Closed the CN Washington office and implemented staff and/or budget cuts at the Heritage Center, Cherokee Phoenix, Markhoma and other important and treasured CN entities.
• Major problems developed at the Immersion School, primarily due to failed leadership, including a “C” on the state report card.
• Sequoyah’s athletics are in turmoil, and the school has regressed to a more negative atmosphere that is not conducive to teaching and learning. Again, ineffectual leadership is to blame, especially on the part of Leroy Qualls, Chuck Hoskin Sr., and non-Indians Neil Morton and Larry Grigg.
• Gerrymandered tribal districts, failed to build as many houses as promised, no payments to elders, no 90-day prescriptions, etc.
Unfortunately, space limitations prevent me from describing every one of BJB’s failures and broken promises in his first year. The Cherokee people need to be informed and aware that Baker’s administration is not interested in improving the Nation for the common good, only in perpetuating its cronyism and nepotism, settling political vendettas, and lining their own pockets. We need to vote out Baker, Crittenden, and their Gang of Ten on the tribal council as soon as possible. Our children and the Cherokee Nation are the ones who will and are paying the price for the self-serving and vindictive nature of the current CN administration.
GEARY DON CROFFORD, Ph.D.