Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker
Over the last year, an elite group of professional athletes
shared many successes while proudly representing their tribe. It
is true that we have Cherokees in the NFL and MLB, but we also have
tribal citizens who are champions in professional sports that are
played closer to home on a slightly smaller, but just as prestigious
Watching these Cherokee athletes in their quest to show the
world the many talents and skills found throughout the Cherokee
Nation and northeast Oklahoma is gratifying and inspiring.
Just some of the Cherokee champions I have seen in action in
the past year are Ryan Dirteater, professional bull rider; Jason
Christie, professional angler; Haley Ganzel, rodeo performer and
trick rider; Jaymee Ambush Jones, mixed martial arts
fighter; Kathina Kill Switch Catron, mixed martial arts
fighter; and Wes Nofire, professional boxer. Their list of accomplishments
and well-earned victories over their respective careers is noteworthy.
- Ryan Dirteater rode in as the years fourth best PBR
rider in the world and won the 2016 PBR World Finals, the largest
event in the sport.
- Professional angler Jason Christie fished his way to eight
national wins over the past five years.
- Haley Ganzel celebrated 16 years in trick riding and is widely
considered one of the best trick riders in the world.
- Jayme Ambush Jones has earned five wins across
her professional career, including a knock out win in less than
- Kathina Kill Switch Catron has earned seven professional
- Wes Nofire has boxed his way to 19 professional wins in the
toughest division of professional boxing, the heavyweight ranks.
These are just some of the professional competitors who highlight
the diverse talent found throughout the Cherokee Nation. These athletes
train hard, work hard and lead by example. Many of them are from
small communities, and there is nothing more important than showing
kids from home that they too can fulfill their dreams.
More importantly, they all serve as excellent role models for
our youth to emulate and know that through hard work, commitment
and character they, too, can accomplish great things. These Cherokee
Nation citizens are pursuing exciting careers, and they serve as
inspiration to others. They all bring different talents, skills
and tenure to their respective sports but share a common desire
to represent the Cherokee people, our values and our heritage when
they step into the bright light of competition. I believe when they
win and when they achieve levels of greatness, which they do quite
often, we can all celebrate and be Cherokee proud.
Bill John Baker