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Bill John Baker: Cherokee Nation invests in our people's wellbeing

Cherokee Nation leaders and youth welcomed Larry Roberts, back row third from left, the acting head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, to Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Photo from Cherokee Nation / Twitter

Principal Chief Bill John Baker of the Cherokee Nation urges lawmakers in Oklahoma to look to tribes as an example and invest in education, health care and social programs:
At Cherokee Nation we have invested our funds into education, health care and the wellbeing of our people. Our gaming and business profits stay in Oklahoma. A full 65 percent is reinvested into our diverse business portfolio, and 35 percent goes to services for the people.

That means our citizens are able to live in decent housing and become homeowners, raise their children safely, and ensure their kids get a quality education. Being able to contribute to the local economy and community is an empowering feeling. Cherokee Nation citizens are able to share in the tribe’s prosperity.

What if state leaders worked off that blueprint? What if a bold, new path were forged? I hope state leaders look at the richness and diversity of Oklahoma’s tribes and say, “We should be more like that; we should invest more money in education, health care, infrastructure and the social programs that lift people up.”

I believe that if we want to build a better Oklahoma, we must work together. I hope our leaders at the state level think about our collective, long-term future. Implore them to do so, and we will all see a greater return on investment and people leading brighter and better lives.

Get the Story:
Chief Bill John Baker: Challenging legislative session ahead for Oklahoma (The Native American Times 2/6)

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