Jack D. Baker – Tribal Council Member
Jack D. Baker was born on his Grandfather’s Cherokee Allotment at Chewey, Adair County, Oklahoma. He is an eighth generation Oklahoman as a result of the Trail of Tears. Many of his Cherokee ancestors lived in present East Tennessee. One of them, Hair Conrad, led the first detachment that left in the fall of 1838 after the Cherokees took over their forced removal.
He is currently one of the seventeen members of the Tribal Council of the Cherokee Nation and represents those Cherokee citizens residing outside of the Cherokee Nation. The Tribal Council legislates the various acts that govern the Cherokee Nation as well as appropriating the more than $600 million annual governmental budget.
He is national president of the Trail of Tears Association and, as such, works with the National Park Service and other organizations including various state parks, The Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Land, and many publicly and privately owned sites historically connected to the Trail of Tears in order to protect the sites and provide interpretation for visitors to the sites. As president of the Association he testified at the congressional hearing on Moccasin Bend in favor of it becoming a part of the National Park system.
Baker is the treasurer of the Cherokee National Historical Society, Inc. which operates the Cherokee Heritage Center. He is also a board member of the Oklahoma Historical Society which operates about 30 historic sites across the state including Sequoyah’s Home, the Murrell Home, and Fort Gibson as well as the Oklahoma History Center.
He has been president for more than twenty-five years of Goingsnake District Heritage Association which is a local historical society based in Westville organized to preserve the heritage of the Goingsnake District of the Cherokee Nation. He is a board member of the Cherokee-Moravian Historical Association which was formed to create awareness of the early relationship between the Moravian Church and the Cherokee Nation.
Baker also served as a member of the 1999 Cherokee Constitutional Convention. Until obtaining his position on the Tribal Council, he served as one of three members of the Cherokee Nation Registration Committee and as president of the board of the Cherokee Nation Education Corporation (now the Cherokee Nation Foundation).
He has done extensive Cherokee research for more than forty years and has authored various articles and edited various books on Cherokee history as well as writing forewords for several scholarly books on Cherokees. He has also served as an advisor and assisted with various documentaries on Cherokee history. In March of 2007, Baker was awarded the Principal Chief’s Leadership Award for his work to preserve Cherokee history and his contributions to the Cherokee Nation.