Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Honored with 2017 Preservation Leadership Award

Travis Owens, Preservation Oklahoma board member and CNB director of cultural tourism, alongside Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Preservation Oklahoma Executive Director David Pettyjohn during the 2017 Preservation Leadership Awards in Oklahoma City.

Published April 18, 2017

TULSA— Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker was honored with the 2017 Preservation Leadership Award by Preservation Oklahoma on Monday evening at the Overholser Mansion in Oklahoma City.

The award acknowledges the work of individuals and groups whose tenacity, courage and determination are the backbone of successful preservation projects across Oklahoma.

“Preservation is a responsibility that we all share as citizens of our communities, and it is a value that, as Cherokees, is deeply engrained from generation to generation,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “We owe it to our children to make these investments and conservation efforts a priority today, so that tomorrow they may better know, understand and appreciate our iconic and historic treasures in Oklahoma.”

As Principal Chief of the largest tribe in the U.S., Baker has overseen the renovation and preservation of many cultural projects, including Cherokee Nation’s most iconic structure, the Cherokee National Capitol building. He also supported the purchase of Sequoyah’s Cabin from the Oklahoma Historical Society when the state of Oklahoma was no longer able to operate the national historic landmark and popular tourist attraction due to state budget cuts. Under his leadership, Cherokee Nation continues to maintain a strong relationship with the Oklahoma Historical Society and helps maintain and operate historic sites throughout Cherokee Nation’s jurisdiction.

Baker also played a vital role in recent preservation efforts at Northeastern State University for the school’s oldest and most historic building, Seminary Hall. The funds provided by Cherokee Nation Businesses are providing the necessary resources to preserve, renovate and repurpose Seminary Hall so it may be utilized by students and staff and showcase its cultural heritage.

Included in the evening’s events was the unveiling of the 2017 List of Oklahoma’s Most Endangered Historic Places. An exhibit featuring the locations was on display and will soon begin traveling throughout the state in an effort to raise awareness about the need to preserve the historic buildings.

For more information about preservation efforts in Oklahoma, please visit

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