, Muskogee, OK

Local News

April 9, 2013

Tribe targets sexual assault, child abuse

Chief, others place ‘pinwheels for prevention’

TAHLEQUAH — Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker planted “pinwheels for prevention” Tuesday at a ceremony marking Child Abuse Awareness Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

The Cherokee Nation is committed to raising its children in healthy and loving homes, and prevention efforts are the best hope for reducing violence, he said.

“The best way to do that is to support our families,” Baker said. “This month, you will see purple and orange pinwheels around the complex, around Cherokee Nation properties and around the community.”

Purple represents victims of child abuse or sexual assault. Orange represents the One Fire Task Force and Victim Services Office.

“They are pinwheels for prevention, a way to show our support for victims and let them know we are here to help,” Baker said.

Baker’s wife, Sherry Baker, stood by holding their granddaughter, Anna.

Officials and employees of the Cherokee Nation gathered, wearing orange and purple ribbons for the event at the Cherokee Nation Tribal Complex.

Since taking office, Baker’s administration has made combating domestic violence a top priority, according to a media release given before Tuesday’s event.

“We created the Charles L. Head One Fire Against Violence Victims Services Office Center to give our people the tools they need to leave chaotic, violent and abusive situations,” Baker said Tuesday. “For First Lady Sherry Baker and me this issue is deeply personal,  just as it was for former secretary of state, the late Charles Head.”

Baker read the first proclamation, making April Child Abuse Awareness Month, then signed it.

Baker asked his wife, Sherry, to read the second proclamation aloud.

Native Americans have the highest rate of sexual assault victims compared to any other racial group, Sherry Baker said.

“Sexual assault is a complex and ongoing problem within our nation and society, affecting our own Cherokee families,” she read. “And every Cherokee citizen is entitled to be loved, respected, to feel secure, and to be free from verbal, sexual, emotional and physical abuse.”

After signing the second proclamation, Baker, his family and several council members planted orange and purple pinwheels in the raised flower bed outside the lobby.

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or

Text Only
Local News
AP Video
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp

Should a federal judge have the power to strike down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage?

     View Results
Featured Ads

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.