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TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA The next Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives T.W. Shannon and a team of state representatives got a firsthand glimpse into the Cherokee Nation and its services on a tour this week in Tahlequah.
(l to r) Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker honored state Rep. Fred Jordan, R-Jenks; Incoming House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton; Rep. Tom Newell, R-Seminole; and Rep. Mike Jackson, R-Enid with Cherokee Nation Pendleton blankets
“It's important our state lawmakers have a good understanding of the services Cherokee Nation provides, and how those services are an asset to all Oklahomans, regardless of whether or not they are Cherokee,”
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said.
“The best way to showcase all we do is through a personalized tour, and we're pleased these representatives are taking time out of their busy schedules to visit our nation.”
Speaker Shannon, R-Lawton; Rep. Tom Newell, R-Seminole; Mike Jackson, R-Enid; and Fred Jordan, R-Jenks toured W.W. Hastings Hospital, Sequoyah High School, Talking Leaves Job Corp, Cherokee Elder Care, a new home construction project and other Cherokee Nation sites.
“Whether it's creating jobs or serving our citizens, the Cherokee Nation is a major economic force in the state of Oklahoma,”
Chief Baker said.
“Our state policymakers vote on hundreds of bills ranging from education to healthcare, so when the 2013 Oklahoma State Legislature convenes in January, it's important for them to understand the needs and contributions of Cherokee citizens.”
Speaker Designate Shannon will be the first African American to hold the position of Speaker of the House and is a registered citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. After the tour, while being honored with a Pendleton blanket and decorative Cherokee Seal, Shannon said he wanted to continue to grow the sovereign government to government relationship between the tribe and state of Oklahoma.
“The Cherokee Nation, like many of our tribal sovereign nations, is one of the great business partners that the state has. I don't know of better corporate citizens than our tribal governments,”
Rep. Shannon said.
"In the Cherokee Nation, we've seen their investment in health, investment in housing and the corporate investment they're making in rural Oklahoma. I think our tribal governments, particularly the Cherokee Nation, are some of the greatest assets the state has."
The other state representatives in attendance said they left with a greater understanding about the Cherokee Nation and its impact.
"Getting to come here and see a different perspective has been extremely beneficial,"
Representative Jackson said.
posted October 12, 2012 7:00 am edt