Published On: Thu, Aug 1st, 2019

Signs at entrances to Qualla Boundary to honor Eddie Swimmer

Tribal Council passed legislation during its regular session on Thursday, Aug. 1 to place signs at each entrance to the Qualla Boundary honoring Eddie Swimmer, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians from the Big Cove Community, who won the first World Hoop Dance Championship in 1991. He is shown performing the hoop dance at the Cherokee Central Schools Pow Wow in November 2017. (SCOTT MCKIE B.P./One Feather photo)

 

By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.

ONE FEATHER STAFF

 

The first World Champion Hoop Dancer lives in the Big Cove Community and is a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.  Now, the thousands of people who come onto the Qualla Boundary each year will know that fact as well.

During its regular session on Thursday, Aug. 1, Tribal Council passed legislation “that Mr. Eddie Swimmer shall be recognized as the first World Champion Hoop Dancer and that a sign shall be placed at each entrance onto the Qualla Boundary to recognize his great accomplishment”.

The legislation, co-sponsored by Richard Bird, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians who has served as a judge at the World Hoop Dance Championships held annually at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Ariz., and Big Cove Rep. Perry Shell.

Bird was unable to attend Thursday’s session and asked Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed to speak on his behalf.  Chief Sneed spoke of Swimmer’s hoop dance accomplishments including his time performing with the American Indian Dance Theater and being featured on a U.S. Postage Stamp in 1996.

“When you think about that, it’s impressive,” said Chief Sneed.  “Eddie is just a tremendous man of God and just a great community member and role model to our young people.  He works with our youth at the school…he’s given his heart and soul to the community.  He’s an excellent representative of the Eastern Band.”

Swimmer won the inaugural World Hoop Dance Championship in 1991 and has served several times as a judge at the event.

Rep. Shell praised Swimmer as an ambassador and representative of the Tribe.  “All over the world, he’s brought recognition to our people…he’s one of ours, and I think we need to recognize that.”

Swimmer said he has been proud to carry on a family tradition and that he is always proud to tell people worldwide that he is a Cherokee from the Big Cove Community.  On the honor bestowed on Thursday, he noted, “It’s an honor, and I’m really humbled by this.”

In addition to the signs honoring Swimmer, the legislation also calls for a place to be set at the Cherokee Indian Fairgrounds “to recognize all of the EBCI members who have won or placed at the World Hoop Dance Championships”.

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