National | Politics

ICT interview with Bill John Baker, new Cherokee Nation chief

"What was your primary focus these past couple of months?

The first 30 days, we were drinking directly out of a fire hose. We’ve got the nozzle turned down just a little bit now. We’ve been trying to look at all departments, make sure that all services continue; make sure that everything stayed within the budgets, those kinds of things.

What have been your major challenges?

Immediately, we come into office, and the federal government has held $39 million of our housing funds. We immediately got on the phone to work with HUD and work with congressmen to get those funds released. We’re getting those back.

The citizens deserve to be heard, and so we’re letting them be heard. One of the first policies to change was that we would allow employees to speak to the tribal council. There had been a policy in place that said you’d be fired if you talked to the tribal council."

Get the Story:
Bill John Baker, Policy-Maker: An Interview With the New Cherokee Principal Chief (Indian Country Today 3/5)

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