Friday, September 28, 2012

Crossing the (Party) Line, Part Tali

Thanks to a Cherokee Truth reader for this video submission of Mr. Baker on camera at the Democratic National Convention.

When you watch this, for whom do you think Baker is speaking? Himself or for the entire Cherokee Nation? Regardless of your political affiliations, do you think this is appropriate behavior or good government to government relations for a sitting Chief who must deal with politicians on both sides of the political spectrum?

We'll be back on Monday.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Crossing the (Party) Line

Yesterday we talked about the quick response of Chief Baker to a disgusting stereotypical sports chant some Republican campaign staffers used to mock Democrat Elizabeth Warren.
What wasn’t clear is Baker’s involvement in the Democratic Party and what it means to the Cherokee Nation.  Thankfully, the Cherokee Phoenix, just 20 days after the closing of the Democratic National convention, has given us this update on what Baker was up to in North Carolina.  
Chief Baker at DNC
Baker was a delegate and got to speak on TV and to the entire convention.  Besides saying that Obama was the best president ever, Baker got to show off his awesome ribbon shirt and ability to read, in halting English, what was written on the card in front of him.  He said, “To stand on a national stage as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation and cast my delegate vote for President Obama on behalf of the state of Oklahoma helped shine the national spotlight on the Cherokee Nation.”

Reading between the lines, what really happened here is that the national spotlight showed the Cherokee Nation endorsing Obama.  Who happens to be the least popular politician in Oklahoma right now.  In a state where our state house of representatives is overwhelmingly Republican, our state Senate is overwhelmingly Republican, our Governor is Republican, both our U.S. Senators are Republican and every Congressman is Republican except for the one who is retiring and who might be replaced by a Republican Cherokee Nation citizen who calls Obama a socialist. 

Well, Obama's BIA and Department of Interior leaders definitely respect the UKB’s sovereignty, letting them take land into trust inside Cherokee Nation's jurisdiction when every other president (Democrat & Republican) has preserved the Cherokee Nation’s territory.  And Obama definitely supports the Freedmen’s sovereignty, when every other president has agreed that the Cherokee Nation has the right to determine their own citizenship. 
So what is it that makes Mr. Baker say Obama is the best president ever?  Could it be that they gave Baker a microphone and a spotlight?  Because it doesn’t seem like the Cherokee Nation as a whole is getting much out of this deal.
So the Cherokee Nation is now officially taking sides in U.S. partisan politics, and Baker is actively and publicly choosing the side that has exactly zero power with our state or possibly ANY of our federal representatives.  But hey, it makes our Chief feel good. And it only cost us $10,000 worth of dentures and eyeglass money for him to go, so that’s a good thing. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cherokee Chief Sticks Nose in Massachusetts Senate race

In the last few months, a Democrat running for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts has been in hot water for saying something every third person Oklahoma seems to say:  “I’m Cherokee but I can’t prove it.”  Only she left out the “I can’t prove it” part on her bio and law school applications.  The candidate, Elizabeth Warren, has been called out on it repeatedly by her opponent, incumbent U.S. Senator Scott Brown.  Then in the last couple of days, some of Brown’s staff made fun of Warren with the tired ol’ “Tomahawk Chop” song that has featured prominently at Florida State and Atlanta Braves games over the last few decades. Click here to see the idiots from the Brown campaign for yourself.

Aside from watching white people act stupid and yell at each other (which is always entertaining), why do we care what happens when Bostonians sneak some Indian-mockery into the middle of their “Yankees suck” chants?

A very quick response, but not surprising considering Baker’s declared affiliation with the Democratic Party.  To some, it appears the chief is using the Cherokee Nation’s credibility to back his preferred Democratic candidate.  For instance, the blogger Polly’s Granddaughter says:

“Because Chief Baker was a Democratic National Delegate this year, I believe his statement was politically motivated and meant to give the Democratic candidate, Elizabeth Warren, a boost.  But what Elizabeth Warren has done is much worse, in my humble opinion, than any tomahawk chop Brown's people have done. By taking a Cherokee identity she has no right to, she has committed an act of colonization. She has usurped Indigenous identity, just as her ancestors stole the land and resources. It's a hostile act of genocide and it is not okay.
But Baker is willing to overlook that. He said, "I will not be silent when individuals mock and insult our people and our great nation." I think what he meant was he will not be silent when Republican individuals mock and insult our people and our great nation. At least that is what his actions say.”

To the point, Baker has been Chief since last October, during which there have been at least half a dozen Florida State University football games where 70,000 plus fans go to great lengths to do exactly what a couple of Brown supporters half-heartedly attempt: they “mock and insult” en masse. 
So Baker’s not really against that behavior, he’s against Republicans-- but he’s using hollow cries of racism and the credibility of the Cherokee Nation to help a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate from Massachusetts.  

If Baker wants to take a stand we suggest he build up some street cred by taking on Florida State first.  Otherwise, Cherokees should consider that Baker is putting out news releases based on what the National Democratic Party wants him to say, rather than what is best for the Cherokee people who elected him.

It's OK--he's a Democrat.