Cherokee Nation Chief Hopes To Build On High Tribal Pride

Monday, June 29th 2015, 7:14 pm
By: News On 6

The chief of America's largest tribe will remain in office for another four years; Cherokee Chief, Bill John Baker, defeated three challengers over the weekend.

He said with Cherokee pride higher than before, it's time to build on it, and at the nation's headquarters, expansions are already underway.

Congratulatory notes lined the halls of the Cherokee Nation headquarters welcoming Baker back to his office.

6/28/2015 Related Story: Unofficial Results: Bill John Baker Re-Elected As Cherokee Principal Chief

"I'm feeling extremely blessed the Cherokee tribe has spoken and they've given me the blessing of another four years," he said.

With the victory, Baker said he plans to keep moving forward with projects he'd already started.

“We are busting at the seams and we'd like to keep everyone as close as possible to the complex as we can, instead of renting all these buildings in other areas," he said.

For the first time in 20 years the Cherokee Nation headquarters is getting a makeover, adding a second story to the headquarters, but the expansion isn't stopping there with health expansion next on the list.

"We will not only have the best health care in Indian Country, but I think we are gonna have a health care system that the other systems in Oklahoma will be envious of," he said.

Baker said the plan is to move forward on a multi-million dollar health expansion.

The goal is to expand the W.W. Hastings Hospital by 450,000 square feet - a move expected to bring in 1,000 jobs while providing the space needed for the new medical school partnership with OSU.

"The need is so great in our communities, so we want to take the brightest and best and send them to medical school, and let them stay here and take care of their friends and family," Baker said.

He said the pride in the tribe, and people wanting to get back to their roots, have grown substantially over the past four years; he hopes the new improvements will further that.

The news of the medical school partnership is new.

There are still some final details the nation and OSU have to nail down before moving forward; and before those medical classes start the hospital expansion will have to be finished.