Though Cherokee Tribal Council meetings are broadcast live online and through tribal television — as well as recorded on DVDs — council retains the right to exclude non-Cherokee people from its chamber.
During its Dec. 11 meeting, it did just that, requesting that police officers escort a reporter from The Smoky Mountain News — me — off the premises.
Editor’s note: Cherokee Tribal Police would not allow Smoky Mountain News Staff Writer Holly Kays entry into the Cherokee Tribal Council chambers to report on this meeting, which took place on Dec. 11. This story was written after watching a DVD recording of the meeting.
It’s been two months since Cherokee Tribal Council members voted to increase their salaries by $10,800 — and receive backpay for the years when the raises supposedly should have gone into effect — but that hasn’t been enough time for the public reaction to the increases, which many believe to be illegal, to cool down.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will open its new state-of-the-art, $26 million Cherokee Justice Center on Dec. 17 following two years of construction.
There wasn’t much discussion in the chamber Oct. 14 when Cherokee Tribal Council passed its budget for 2014-15. But as news of backpay and a $10,000 raise for council members spread through the reservation, things heated up.
“You’ve opened a door by doing it, and I’m going to question and I’m going to stay on top of this and I’m going to refresh our memories and I’m going to keep the public refreshed,” Teresa McCoy, councilmember from Big Cove, told council during its Oct. 21 meeting. “They’re going to hear about it until they get sick of hearing what council’s doing. You need to go back and read your oath of office.”
Construction on the Parker Meadows sports complex is moving forward, but with some alterations to the original plan following the July discovery of a Cherokee gravesite in the midst of the future ballfields. At the Macon County commissioners’ November meeting, County Planner Matt Mason presented some sketches of what a memorial to the gravesite might look like.
Sequoyah National Golf Club has come out in the red every year since it first opened in 2009, but the Cherokee golf course’s new general manager Kenny Cashwell, of Sequoia Golf Management, thinks that’s a norm that can be reversed.
“Absolutely,” he said of the club’s potential to turn a profit. “We anticipate being close year one. It’s very possible we may get there.”
By Bob Scott • Guest Columnist
In a letter to the editor published in the Nov. 5 edition of The Smoky Mountain News, Rachel Truesdell wrote that as mayor, I “have a lot of explaining to do because most of the arguments in the media from the Town of Franklin are horribly invalid and definitely culturally insensitive.” She was speaking of the Nikwasi Mound.
It’s Sunday afternoon, and a quartet of musicians — one guitarist, three vocalists — stands at the front of a small room whose rows of chairs hold about twenty people. The guitarist strums a few chords, and the voices join in a familiar tune, “Amazing Grace.”
By Anna Fariello • Guest Editorial
In writing the text for an exhibition on Cherokee culture a few years ago, I began with this opening line, “Chances are, where you are standing is part of the Cherokee’s ancestral lands.” While, perhaps, I should have hesitated to make such a bold claim of an exhibit that was traveling throughout Western North Carolina, that statement was far from rash. Today, many think of Cherokee as a town at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, while in fact, Cherokee lands once extended to portions of eight modern states.
When The Smoky Mountain News asked me to write this guest editorial, I was in the midst of putting the finishing touches on a talk for Western Carolina University’s annual Native Expo (9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 12). The expo takes place every November to celebrate and share native cultures with students and the community. Events include talks, film, language, music, and art that celebrate indigenous culture as the university’s contribution to Native American Heritage Month. This year, among other events, the Hunter Library mounted a tribute to the late Robert J. Conley, a prolific and talented writer who served for three years as the university’s Distinguished Sequoya Professor.
It’s been two years since Alen Baker, the self-described “instigator” of the effort to create the Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians, sent an unsolicited pitch to the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce. But now, the building is renovated and the chamber has moved its offices into part of it. Opening day is slated for May 1, and the museum will hold its first annual fundraising dinner Nov. 1 to gather funds to purchase and display fly-fishing memorabilia from across the region.