On August 31, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker stood in the Cherokee Capitol building in Tahlequah, Oklahoma and gave the 2013 State of the Nation address – the cornerstone of the Cherokee Nation’s annual Cherokee National Holiday.
The holiday is an event attended by more than 100,000 visitors a year and features one of Oklahoma’s largest powwows, a parade through the heart of Tahlequah; an all-Indian rodeo; cultural games, arts and crafts; a car show; and much more.
“Today I am pleased and proud to report that the state of our Cherokee Nation has never been stronger,” Baker said. “We will…fulfill all these promises because it’s the right thing to do and the Cherokee people deserve it—the Cherokee people deserve homes, health and hope.”
Baker highlighted the progress of upgrades to the tribal health centers, expanding homeownership opportunities and the renewed sense of hope that has been given to the Cherokee people.
Three milestones – out of many in 2013 – were addressed by Baker; the Nation becoming the first tribe to reach a compact with the state of Oklahoma to allow Cherokee Nation license plates in all 77 counties; the addition of one million dollars to a $9.4 million college scholarship budget; and that more than 20,000 citizens have secured the new photo ID citizenship cards.
“We will not slow down, and we will not let up in what we do for Cherokee people. We will not go back to days before these programs that serve so many so well. I love the Cherokee Nation and Cherokee people. I will spend the next two years tirelessly, passionately and proudly serving you, your families and our great Nation.”