Historically, the Cherokee Nation has been a matriarchal society and has always looked to strong women for guidance and leadership.
Cherokee women are proud and powerful and fuel our success as a tribe. This fact is as true today as ever.
This month we are honoring the spirit of Women’s History Month and celebrating the enormous contributions Cherokee women have made throughout our history and in our modern government and business endeavors.
As Principal Chief, I strive to place talented women in leadership roles within this administration and at Cherokee Nation Businesses.
In fact, there are more women in management at CNB and Cherokee Nation than ever before. Many of our tribal programs and departments are led by women and our tribal government’s workforce is dominated by women.
Of the 3,665 employees we have at Cherokee Nation, 2,597 are female. That represents more than 71 percent of our staff.
We have created a more female-friendly work environment at Cherokee Nation by establishing a fully paid, eight-week maternity leave policy for expectant mothers who work for the Cherokee Nation and by raising the minimum wage for all employees, allowing our employees to continue working for the Cherokee people while meeting their family obligations.
The tribe’s legislative body, the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council, is shaped, in part, by Deputy Speaker Victoria Vazquez and Councilors Frankie Hargis, Janees Taylor and Wanda Hatfield. Their leadership and vision are helping drive the Cherokee Nation into a brighter future.
This month also marked the fourth anniversary of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.
At Cherokee Nation, we remain committed to protecting women and children from the epidemic of domestic violence. We created the ONE FIRE Victim Services office to be a beacon of hope and safety for women and families within our tribal jurisdiction.
If you do not already, please follow our Facebook and Twitter accounts as we will profile historic and modern Cherokee women and their stories on our social media channels throughout the month of March.
Bill John Baker is the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.