A reader told us he received a letter from Bill John Baker's campaign with the claim that only 1/3 of the employees at Hard Rock Casino are Cherokee and asked if this claim is true.
On a busy weekend, Cherokee Truth will borrow from the fine folks at the Cherokee Phoenix to lay down a little truth. In their monthly publication, they do what they call a “Truth Report” on candidates’ claims.
In their March issue, they address a claim by Baker that “more than half the employees working at the Nation’s businesses are not Cherokee, and two out of every three employees at our largest casino, the Hard Rock in Tulsa, are not Cherokee.” Take a look by clicking here and scroll down to page 7 to see the column by Baker.
Letters to voters have included similar wording.
What did the Cherokee Phoenix Truth Report say about that? Scroll down to page 8 to see for yourself.
Basically, they say it’s true if you accept three assumptions that Baker makes. The assumptions are:
1) Members of the UKB and Eastern Band in North Carolina do not count as Cherokees.
2) Employees who live in places like Colorado should be counted in the number, even though there aren’t many Cherokees to hire there.
It’s up to you to decide if you accept the assumptions, we’re just here with the truth.
However, if you reject assumption 1, and feel like UKB folks and Eastern Band folks are Cherokees, then it’s not true.
The overall numbers in the Phoenix report are that 54.8% of the CNB employees are Cherokee (counting the ones in Colorado) and 10.4% are Natives from other tribes.
For the Hard Rock, the numbers in the Phoenix report are 45.6% (not 1/3 as Baker claims), with 14.1% being Natives from other tribes.
The Phoenix, though they make the distinction about Colorado companies themselves, don’t give us details to know what the employment would be like if those companies were not included overall, so we can’t tell what the numbers would be like if you reject assumption two.
For reference, the US Census Bureau found in 2010 that Native Americans make up only 8% of Oklahoma’s entire population, and that accounts for all tribes, not just Cherokee Nation. If you look at it by county, Rogers County (home of the Hard Rock), Native Americans make up only 11.5% of the population.
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