To the boos of an outspoken audience, the Cherokee Tribal Council voted 9-3 Feb. 2 to begin impeachment proceedings against Principal Chief Patrick Lambert.

Rumors have been flying on the Qualla Boundary since an investigation into contract awards and human resources actions under Principal Chief Patrick Lambert’s administration was completed last week. The report, a redacted copy of which was posted on the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal Council Facebook page, states that the investigated actions “deviated from the Cherokee Code and other documented policies and processes.”

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort is stepping into its 20th year of operation with plans for a massive expansion that will add 600-800 hotel rooms, a parking deck and a 100,000-square-foot event center to the existing 1,900,000-square-foot complex.

The Tribal Casino Gaming Enterprise’s newest member will be anything but new to the business of casino management when she takes her seat on the board.

According to a recent ranking from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority is one of the nation’s worst-performing hospitals when it comes to rates of patients who acquire infections while staying in the hospital.

Embezzling nearly $1 million from The Sequoyah Fund in Cherokee will land the organization’s former executive director in federal prison for more than two years, U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger decided at a Dec. 15 sentencing hearing.

Editor’s note: This article was first published in The Smoky Mountain News in December 2003.

Tuckaseigee, Oconaluftee, Heintooga, Wayah, Cullasaja, Hiwassee, Coweeta, Stecoah, Steestachee, Skeenah, Nantahala, Aquone, Katuwah, and on and on. Our place names here in the Smokies region are graced throughout with evidence of the Cherokee culture that prevailed for over 700 years. Wouldn’t it be nice if Clingmans Dome was correctly designated as Mount Yonah (high place of the bears)?

A Cherokee firefighter has pled guilty to federal charges for intentionally starting seven wildfires on the Qualla Boundary between 2010 and 2014, which cost the Bureau of Indian Affairs a total of $106,700 to extinguish.

Harry S. Truman’s Secretary of State Dean Acheson said upon his return to private life, “I will undoubtedly have to seek what is happily known as gainful employment, which I am glad to say does not describe holding public office.”

To serve, Haywood Commissioners leave money on the table
Carrying commissioner duties a juggling act in Jackson
Macon commissioners not there for money
Swain commissioners give little thought to salary
Cherokee council makes more than state reps, less than congressmen

While holding public office in the United States isn’t usually all pain, it is usually no gain. American culture has long held disdain for those who enrich themselves by suckling at the public teat, and a Smoky Mountain News investigation proves that — at least locally — the salary and benefits offered to county commissioners in Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties aren’t making any of them rich.

Members of the Cherokee Tribal Council are hands-down the highest-paid local representatives in Western North Carolina, with other commissioner stipends paling in comparison to the $80,000-plus per year councilmembers receive as salary. 

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