By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Tribal Council tabled a resolution during their regular monthly session on Thursday, Dec. 11 that would limit fishing guides to only those who are EBCI tribal members. The resolution, submitted by EBCI tribal member Tom Saunooke, was tabled and referred to the Timber and Natural Resources Committee.
“As much as I would like to say that only tribal members can guide in our rivers, I can’t say that,” said Big Cove Rep. Teresa McCoy. “I think that what you’re attempting to do is a form of discrimination.”
She likened it to tribal members not being allowed to perform guide services on the Nantahala River. “You have every legal right to guide in those rivers just like they do. It would be wrong for us to discriminate against people here.”
Yellowhill Rep. David Wolfe, who made the motion to table, related, “I think this needs some work to be codified.”
He made the recommendation to send it to the Timber and Natural Resources Committee so that it can become a part of the fishing and hunting guidelines if passed.
Yellowhill Rep. B. Ensley commented, “I think this issue deserves some discussion in the Timber Committee. I’m curious as to how many guide services we have on the reservation and what sort of levy they generate.”
Saunooke’s legislation reads in part, “Often tribal members complain of trash and debris on the banks and waters of the Tribal Enterprise Fishing Waters, and many tribal members find this to be disrespectful to our Tribal believe that our waters are sacred…some non-Indian fishermen and fishing guides are not aware that many members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians consider our waters sacred and leaving trash and debris on our river banks and waters is disrespectful and takes away from the beauty and sanctity of our environment.”