On May 4, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker hosted U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) on a tour of the Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
The tour consisted of stops to the W.W. Hastings’ new emergency room and urgent care department that has been successful in shortening the wait times for Native patients; model homes that are part of the New Home Construction initiative. The new home initiative builds affordable housing for Cherokee citizens who earn more than $15,000 a year in income and are a first-time homeowner. The conclusion of the tour was focused on the tribe’s dedication to education with visits to the Sequoyah High School, Cherokee Immersion Charter School and the Cherokee Nation Early Childhood Unit and Child Development Center.
Udall who has served on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee for 14 years, and currently serves on four other committees, in referring to his work in Native communities on the committee said, “I have a real perspective on tribes and how well they are serving their members, and I am very impressed today with the provision of health care, education and housing that’s being done by the Cherokee Nation,” Udall said. “I toured all three of those areas and spoke with Chief Baker, and I am just very impressed at how the tribe is providing those services to its members.”
“The Cherokee Nation was honored to host Sen. Tom Udall in Tahlequah and show him the successes of our housing, education and health care programs,” Chief Baker said. “As a member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Sen. Udall has earned a well-deserved reputation as a principled leader who has the integrity to do what is right for sovereign tribal governments. Without a doubt, Sen. Udall is one of the biggest champions for Indian Country in Congress."