Monday, March 2, 2015

Watts Will Not Seek the Office of Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation

A email message sent to Cara Cowan Watts supporters follows:
When I decided to run for Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, my goal was to return the Tribe to the Cherokee people as well as continue my personal service to our shared community.

The Cherokee people deserve genuine leadership focused on our Tribal sovereignty and Cherokee families.  The current administration is distracted by spending Tribal money to enrich his personal friends at the same time intimidating employees and vendors wanting to participate in the election process and ignoring our Tribal citizen’s basic needs such as Tribal citizenship papers, health care and housing.

In less than four years, the Cherokee Nation has lost our national leadership role in transparency, language preservation, culture, housing, business and basic government services.  Cherokee voters need to be aware of the reality in Tahlequah and vote for individuals based on qualifications and not on personality, personal gain or empty campaign promises. 

After much prayer, discussion with my family and a thorough review of the circumstances, I have come to a heart wrenching business decision.  The best way for me to serve the Cherokee people and meet my original goal of an improved Cherokee Nation is to work with others who share my vision.

Historically, we as Cherokees have inherently valued working together for the good of the community as a whole.  Gadugi (Working together) sustained us through our most difficult times as a Nation and enabled us to prosper in the face of adversity.

With these values in mind, I announce today I will not seek the office of Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.  My personal vote and endorsement goes to a proven Cherokee leader who I have worked with for more than a decade through good and bad: Chad Smith.

Many of you know Chief Chad Smith and I share common policy perspectives such as defending our children and families by fully implementing the Indian Child Welfare Act, aggressively addressing the revitalization of our language and culture, providing a safe workplace for employees free of harassment and threats and addressing the educational needs of the Youth.

I have asked Chief Smith to take up the challenge of helping every Cherokee family achieve home ownership, educating our youth and adults for the workforce of tomorrow, ensuring no Cherokee ever dies of cancer because a phone call or email was not returned and guaranteeing our children and grandchildren’s Tribal Citizenship applications should take no longer than six months.

I am asking each of you to stand up for Cherokee families by electing Chad Smith Principal Chief on June 27.

To my supporters and donors, you have my heartfelt thanks.  Your generosity and kindness means more to me and my family than you may possibly ever know.  Serving the Cherokee people and especially our Cherokee youth has been a significant part of my life’s work, which I will continue as I did before elected office.

Cara Cowan Watts

Chad Smith Campaign
P.O. Box 64
Park Hill, OK. 74451

Paid for by Cara Cowan Watts for Chief 2015

Cherokee Nation Election Law
1. No corporation, partnership and/or any other legal entity shall contribute to any Cherokee Nation campaign or candidate.
2. No person shall contribute more than $5000 in cash or in-kind contribution to any one candidate during an election period.
3. No person shall knowingly make or authorize a campaign contribution or political expenditure in the name of or on behalf of another, unless the other’s name is provided in order for the proper disclosure to be made. No contributions shall be made in the name of a minor. No person shall directly or indirectly reimburse another for a contribution to a candidate.
Copyright © 2015 Cara Cowan Watts for Chief 2015, All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Bill John Baker - Leader or Misleader?

They say the cover up is always worse than the crime. According to Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases PR, "It’s one thing to be guilty of doing something wrong; it’s a completely other issue to be a deceiver, trying to hide the truth from the public." Perhaps Chief Bill John Baker, should have consulted Mr. Kennedy before making this speech to a group of Cherokee Nation At Large citizens in California, October 18, 2014.

Baker was referring to Ross Wilson, a man whose home needed repairs and whose home was featured in the post, "Our Moral Test". Baker said the delay in getting Wilson help was because he fell through the cracks. Baker stated Wilson didn't qualify for various types of help and blamed it on the federal government saying they never thought about "these people." He emphasized Wilson couldn't get help because "he didn't own the land!"

I've never been one to beat around the bush, so I won't start now. Baker's statements are not true and there is ample documentation to show it.

Wilson's home was damaged January 5, 2014. He applied for help with repairs and WAS approved for Emergency Repair up to the amount of $5000.

According to the Cherokee Nation Housing Rehab Programs Policy and Procedures, on page 18, where Emergency Repair is discussed, it says, "Property must be owner occupied or the occupant must have a long term lease." [emphasis mine]

As you can see, there is no requirement to own the property, but instead, to be locked into a long term lease on said property. 

Per the requirements, Wilson got a long term lease, dated February 21, 2014, and filed it in Delaware County court. The lease includes the following statement, "Agrees that a copy of this lease will be kept on file with the Housing Rehab Program of the Cherokee Nation."

In May, June, July and August, the Housing Rehab Program posted Request for Bid packets on a "NAHASDA Emergency of one home" for Wilson.
Click photo for more information.
Click photo for more information.
Click photo for more information.
Click photo for more information.

Sometime after August 8, 2014, a bid of $6400 was accepted from Cherokee Home Builders.

Clearly, Wilson qualified and was approved for help or there would have been no reason for him to file his lease with the Cherokee Nation Rehab Department or for that department to submit four different requests for bids and to eventually accept a bid for the work needed on his home.

Now that you know Wilson DID qualify for help and WAS approved for help, watch the video again.

Despite everything Baker says in that video, you've seen the documentation that shows Wilson was approved for help. The help simply didn't come. That is not the fault of Wilson, nor is it the fault of the federal government. Our Emergency and Rehab programs have problems, as discussed in the Cherokee Nation Community Services Committee Meeting on July 14, 2014. The delay in Wilson's home getting the needed repairs is not an isolated case. Chief Baker had the opportunity to admit we have problems but chose not to do so. Instead he tried to deceive Cherokee citizens, voters, into believing he had to fight a bad system put in place by the federal government in order to get one of his people some help. It is simply not true.

After hearing Baker's words and seeing the documentation above, what do you think? Is Baker a leader of our nation or his he a misleader of the people? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Those are my thoughts for today.
Thanks for reading.

*Note: I'm aware there are other issues with Baker's words in the video. This is only the first in a series of posts that will reveal the details of what happened before, during and after Mr. Wilson received his new home, courtesy of the Cherokee Nation. While I am forever grateful that Mr. Wilson now has a home where he is warm and where he has running water, I feel the false information being passed along about his story needs to be addressed with factual information that can be supported with documentation. The Cherokee people deserve to know the truth.

**Ross Wilson's identity had never been revealed in this blog until now. His name has only been released after receiving permission from him to do so and only after at least one Cherokee Nation employee has shared it on social media.

copyright 2015, Polly's Granddaughter - TCB

Thursday, February 26, 2015

2015 Chilocco Reunion

The 2015 Chilocco Reunion will be held May 28-31 at the Chilocco Campus and First Council Casino Hotel. See the following form for more information.

Those are my thoughts for today.
Thanks for reading.

copyright 2015, Polly's Granddaughter - TCB