Friday, October 28, 2011

Permission to Speak Freely

This has already gotten some attention elsewhere, but hey, we’re busy and it is important enough to make sure there’s some Cherokee Truth on this.

Earlier this week, Baker sent out a news release, all employee email and executive order talking about how he was making it safe for employees to talk to their council members.

Thanks to Baker, employees can now “speak openly about their job duties, responsibilities and concerns as both employees and citizens of the Nation with their duly elected Council Representative or any member of the Council.”
He says that executive order replaces all ‘directives that censored the Nation’s employees from speaking openly with any Tribal Council Representative.’

That’s great news, if it is true.  Baker took a proactive, positive step to encourage employees to talk to their council members.  But he also took a shot at Smith, especially in the news release, saying such conversations had been “prohibited in recent years.”

The news release said that “for at least the last six years, Cherokee Nation employees were forbidden to speak with any council member, including their own, about issues related to their employment with the Nation.”

If employees haven’t been able to talk to council members for at least the past six years, how is this the first we’ve heard about it?  If there really was a policy against it, then Baker should show the Cherokee people what policy he is repealing.  If there isn’t a policy (and it seems unlikely that there was), he shouldn’t put out a news release that says there was one.

Baker told us he wanted to move on from the election, but now that he’s in office, he still can’t resist taking a shot at Smith.  Even if it’s a warranted shot, it’s still unnecessary.  But Baker hasn’t presented any evidence that such a policy ever existed!

Baker promised additional executive orders.  We’re wondering if his next one is going to allow Cherokees to turn right on red, further freeing us from Smith’s oppression.  Or maybe Baker is going to let employees have Christmas Day off, unlike that ol’ Scrooge Smith.  Regardless, the Truth is still the Truth, and if Cherokee people deserve to know if their Chief is still in campaign mode and looking backwards or if he’s looking forward and ready to back up his words with facts.