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Principal Chief Bill John Baker
Native Brief: TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA - Bill John Baker was sworn in as the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation at 7:30 pm Wednesday evening on the back steps of the historic Cherokee Nation Courthouse in downtown Tahlequah.
The swearing in came suddenly after the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed an appeal by former Principal Chief Chad Smith.
“The Cherokee people have spoken, and I am humbled and honored to be elected to lead our great nation.”
Baker said. "This has been a difficult and tough campaign for everyone,"
"I want to thank Chief Smith for contacting me today and acknowledging my victory and for his offer to help in any way necessary in the coming weeks," continued Baker.
After the Election Commission certified Baker's victory, the swearing in for Baker was set for November 6. There was no official statement as to why the swearing in occurred on Wednesday evening, instead of November 6.
Smith had argued votes other than freedmen votes were cast after election day in the second election for chief. The first election was thrown out over the summer. The Nation's Supreme Court just dismissed the appeal, which essentially made way for Baker to take over as the principal chief.
"I understand our Cherokee Nation Supreme Court has dismissed my appeal of the election. I acknowledge that Bill John Baker has been elected to the Office of Principal Chief and offer him any help I may provide in building the Nation I so love, and have been honored to serve for the past 12 years," former Chief Chad Smith said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.
posted October 20, 2011 6:00 am edt
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