By PRINCIPAL CHIEF RICHARD G. SNEED
The month of October was eventful. The Annual Cherokee Indian Fair began with a great parade, great weather for the week, an exciting children’s day, a wonderful lunch with our elders on Senior Citizen’s day and an honoring event for our Veterans. It is always great to see our community enjoying the week of stickball, bean bread and choosing our new royalty. Congratulations to our new Miss Cherokee – Faith Long, Teen Miss Cherokee Raylen Bark, Junior Miss Cherokee Dvdaya Swimmer, and Little Miss Cherokee Araceli Martinez-Arch. These young ladies will represent our tribe with dignity and grace.
The EBCI also hosted United South and Eastern Tribes Sovereignty Protection Fund annual meeting. Our leadership in the USET organization has brought this group of tribes to our community several times now and we continue to receive compliments on the direction our tribe has taken in improving resources for our people. The week was filled with field trips into our community, lots of hard work toward understanding the challenges our tribes face in Washington and toward developing a strategy to effect change in policy to protect our rights as tribal nations. This year, we were honored to have U.S. Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC) welcome the group. Congressman Meadows is a friend to our tribe and his work on our behalf is vital.
Our Tribe was represented at the bridge dedication held in Cherokee County on Oct. 24. The Bridge naming recognized the contributions of former State Representative Roger West. Representative West has long supported the tribal initiatives important to bringing change to our region. It was an honor to join Tribal Council Chairman Adam Wachacha, members of Tribal Council and Vice Chief B. Ensley in congratulating Representative West in this honor. We met with Speaker of the North Carolina House Tim Moore and other state dignitaries to discuss issues and to hear an update on the status of the North Carolina state government initiatives.
Our tribal government presented a commemorative jersey to honor Pee Wee Crowe. Pee Wee played football as a Cherokee Brave and spent his life as an ardent supporter of the Cherokee Braves and the Cherokee Central Schools. Pee Wee also served as the Vice Chief of our Tribe and continued to fight for our tribe throughout his life. Pee Wee didn’t stop when he left elected office he then joined the Cherokee Police Commission. It was an honor for me to know Pee Wee and his family and I hope that the example of his life will inspire future generations of Cherokee leaders.
Vice Chief Ensley and I attended the Senior Appreciation event at Rattler Ford in Snowbird. It is an honor for me to be welcomed into the community and to continue to meet and get to know the tribal members who live in Snowbird. Any event in Snowbird is filled with laughter and good will.
Our Tribe lost a former Tribal Council Member from the Painttown Community. Mrs. Marion Teesateskie served our Tribe through several terms as a representative but tribal council was not the first experience Marion had in serving. I first met Marion as a graphic arts teacher at Cherokee High. Marion always treated me with kindness and respect as a student and that example has followed me throughout my life. Marion guided our Tribe through challenging times as a tribal leader and her work lives on in the prosperity our tribe experiences today.
Our Tribe is fortunate to have generations of tribal leaders who have paved the way for our community. It is through their good work that we have experienced gains in education and economic prosperity. Their work to forge relationships continues to influence our work with Tribal, State and National leadership.