U.S. Senator Kay Hagan visited the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation Aug. 6, meeting with Chief Michell Hicks, Vice Chief Larry Blythe and members of the Tribal Council to receive an update on the reservation and discuss her advocacy on behalf of Western North Carolina in the U.S. Senate.
“I am so honored to have the opportunity to visit Cherokee today, a place so deeply tied into the history and fabric of our state. Cherokee continues to be a vital part of our tourism economy in North Carolina,” Hagan said. “Every year, people from all over come to visit the unique cultural and historic sites of the western North Carolina mountains, whose beauty is unmatched anywhere in the world.”
Hagan, who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Children & Families, also toured the Birdtown Recreation Center and visited with local children. Hagan is cosponsoring legislation to address the unique challenges faced by Native American children. The Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act would establish a commission within the Office of Tribal Justice of the Department of Justice (DOJ). The bill would require the commission to conduct a comprehensive study of federal, state, local and tribal programs that serve Native children, identify models of successful initiatives and make recommendations on federal policy to improve the current system by building on the strengths of Native communities.
“We can and must do better for our kids,” Hagan said, explaining that the Commission on Native Children would conduct an intensive study into the issues facing children and actions needed to ensure children have a shot at academic and economic success.