Bill John Baker claims the Cherokee Nation has lost 1,000 Cherokee jobs since Chad Smith has been Chief. We pointed out that was hooey about two weeks ago but the Cherokee Phoenix had the resources to show exactly how far off Baker (and Smith) have been on their claims about jobs.
We’ll just quote from the Phoenix here, so no one thinks we are making this up:
Baker “says in 1999 the tribe employed about 3000 Cherokees, while the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation and W.W. Hastings Hospital, as stand alone entities, each employed about 1000 workers. He says if Hastings and former HACN employees are being counted now by the administration, then there were 5,000 Cherokee jobs. The tribe's and Cherokee Nation Businesses’ employment numbers now collectively sit at approximately 8,200 jobs. However, Baker says only half of those are Cherokee.” (scroll down to page 10).
The TRUTH? CN and its businesses had 2410 employees (not 3000) in 1999. HACN had 204 employees in 1999, not 1000. Hastings was operated by IHS in 1999, so the earliest records Cherokee Nation had are for 2008, when Cherokee Nation took it over. The number for 2008, was 522 employees, not 1,000. So that’s a grand total of 3,136 employees in 1999. So Baker is off by a whopping 1,864 jobs. If the Cherokee Nation had nine more housing authorities than it actually did in 1999, it still wouldn’t have has as many employees as Baker tells people it did. So that’s the biggest lie of the campaign so far.
The Phoenix says there are not records for how many employees were Cherokee in 1999. But, they do know how many employees are Cherokee today: 5,073, or 61%-- way more than half. So even if every employee in 1999 were Cherokee (doubtful), Smith has created almost 2,000 jobs for Cherokees, and likely a lot more. And according to the Cherokee Phoenix, Smith may be underselling the job creation. It’s between 5,100 and 5,800 jobs, depending on how you look at it.
The Cherokee Phoenix did not come right out and say it, but the idea that the Cherokee Nation employs 1,000 fewer Cherokee citizens than it did in 1999 is ridiculous and an outright lie. So hopefully Baker will quit saying it.