G.D. Crofford has written extremely negative letters to this paper and at least one other about Chief Baker. The Chief does not need me to defend him, but I will explain briefly what I do know about him. My family and I were able to meet him at a ceremony in August at the Three Rivers Clinic in Muskogee honoring our relative who was an Ambassador of the tribe and a Cherokee physician in the early 20th century, Dr. Charles Ed White.
I do not know why Crofford has taken on the role of Uktena, the great snake, but I do know of the positive things that Chief Baker said he is doing for the Cherokee Nation.
• Additional 5 percent of casino profits allocated to health care;
• Hired an additional 800 employees, most of them Cherokees;
• Increased business contracts by almost 50 percent;
• Secured previously frozen HUD funds of $33 million for housing;
• Millions allocated to school districts from license tag receipts;
• Gave almost 1,000 scholarships worth about $2 thousand each in the fall semester;
• Sold the corporate airplane for a savings of over a million dollars;
• Closed the expensive and unnecessary Washington lobby office.
Before the meeting, some of us were concerned that the tribe as it became more prosperous was leaving behind its most vulnerable citizens, the elderly and needy. Chief Baker allayed these fears and we feel comfortable that the Nation is headed in the right direction under his leadership.
Bella Vista, AR