By RICHARD G. SNEED
Last week, I traveled with members of Tribal Council to attend the USET conference in Washington, DC. My attendance at the conference was limited because our schedule for visiting congressional representatives was full. I was pleased to meet with many representatives who are aware of Indian issues and engaged with tribal Leaders.
The land-into-trust issue was a major focus for many of the meetings, and I believe we have support for this important legislation. We also met with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to work on other land-into-trust requests which seemed to have stalled. Those meetings were hopeful, and we expect some positive movement after those discussions.
Overall, these meetings are important to re-establish our leadership for Indian Country in Washington and to advance our issues to a level for immediate action. Tribal leadership is both the Executive Ofice and Tribal Council, and we can only benefit when we work together toward a common goal.
I was also fortunate to attend the “Sovereignty” play at the Arena Theatre. Mary Katherine Nagel, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, is the playwright and a legal advocate for tribal issues. The play explores Cherokee history and why our history is important to our status today. After the play, I joined others in a post discussion panel on sovereignty and how our Tribe protects and defends our sovereignty.
These types of events are important to educate a wider audience about our issues. The Arena Theatre often hosts legislative, judicial and academic leaders in the Washington, DC area. Those in the audience who influence tribal policies have one more opportunity to learn our history.
I was also honored to wear an 18th century jacket made by the wonderful ladies at Sew Tsa La Gi. Nancy, Johnny Ruth, and Charla are to be commended for their dedication to providing our community with historically-inspired attire. Their craftsmanship is top of the line. If you haven’t visited their shop yet, please stop by and see some of their wonderful work.
Many tribal leaders are again in Washington, DC this week for the National Congress of American Indians, and they will continue to discuss our issues with leadership.
I did not attend this week because my son, Sam, is advancing in the North Carolina State Wrestling Championship along with Seth Sneed and Caden Pheasant. Also this week, the Lady Braves and the Varsity and JV Braves are playing in the Smoky Mountain Conference basketball tournament at Murphy. We also had tremendous success in the indoor track and field competition. Congratulations to Hallah Panther who placed 6th overall in pole vault. Best of luck to all the Braves!