Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Cherokee Nation Health Services Executive Director Connie Davis visit during a tour of the tribe’s W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price’s first visit to Indian Country included a lesson on blowguns, chatting with pint-sized Cherokee speakers and touring a packed urgent care at the tribe’s W.W. Hastings Hospital.
Sec. Price visited the Cherokee Nation recently, marking the third time President Trump’s cabinet level advisor visited an American Indian Tribe.
“Anytime you can show leaders in Washington who you are and what your needs are, it has a lasting impact,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “The visit by Secretary Price opened new dialogue by allowing us to be more visible and talk about a priority we both share – curbing the opioid crisis in America and in Indian Country.”
The visit to Cherokee Nation on Sept. 20-21 included a tour of its tribally operated hospital, the construction site of its outpatient health facility (which when opened will be the largest tribal health center in the country), the Cherokee Immersion Charter School, the Jack Brown Youth Treatment Center and the Cherokee Veterans Center.
A news conference was held by Secretary Price and Chief Baker to share ways the Trump administration and tribe are fighting the overabundance of opioids and its harmful addiction.
“It was an honor to meet with the Cherokee Nation, and we so greatly appreciate their hospitality on what was a remarkable visit to Indian Country,” HHS Secretary Price said. “We enjoyed a positive and productive exchange of ideas, and we had the privilege of learning more about the health care facilities that are helping and will help improve the health and well-being of so many. The visit afforded us the opportunity to highlight the partnership that is vital to addressing the needs and concerns of the Cherokee Nation – particularly the opioid crisis, which is a scourge that knows no boundaries. It was inspiring to hear how the Cherokee Nation is helping lead the way in addressing this challenge.”
As part of Secretary Price’s visit, his Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee or STAC, which allows tribal leaders from across the country to meet with HHS on health issues, was held at the Cherokee Nation. It was the first time the quarterly meeting was held outside of Washington.
“The Secretary’s two-day visit brought legislators, Tribal Chiefs, Indian Health Service directors and other key leaders to the table at Cherokee Nation to network and share ideas that can only further benefit our people and services,” said Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., and Oklahoma’s STAC delegate.
Cherokee Nation News Release
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