President Jack D. Baker
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. He is a graduate of Westville High School and was recently inducted into their Hall of Fame. He is an alumnus of Oklahoma State University.
He served for eleven years as one of the seventeen members of the tribal council of the Cherokee Nation and represented those Cherokee citizens residing outside of the Cherokee Nation. His term ended in August of 2017 due to term limits.
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. 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 served for twenty-one years on the board of the Cherokee National Historical Society, many of those years serving as treasurer. He is the immediate past president of the board of the Oklahoma Historical Society, which operates about twenty-five historic sites across the state, including the Will Rogers Memorial, Route 66 Museum,
and Fort Gibson, as well as the Oklahoma History Center. He has served on their board for eighteen years. For the last three years, he has served as a member of the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission which oversees the conservancy of the Oklahoma Capitol and governor’s mansion. This commission has overseen the major restoration work on the Capitol building that is due for completion in 2021.
He has been president for more than thirty-seven 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. As such, he has been instrumental in obtaining the translation of the early Moravian mission records from the archaic German script into English by the Moravian Archives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. So far, there have been nine volumes of these records published. These records are a major contribution to the early history of 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 fifty 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.