Over the course of thousands of years lived in the Southern Appalachian mountains, the Cherokee people had pretty well developed a system of relationship with the land that ensured they harvested what they needed to live while leaving enough to ensure future generations would yield the same benefit.
But then there was the arrival of Europeans, years of conflict, the removal, and the establishment of the Qualla Boundary under the supervision of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. It’s been a long time since Cherokee land was truly managed in the Cherokee tradition, but with the impending approval of a new forest management plan the pendulum is swinging back closer than it’s been in a long time.
Tempers flared in Cherokee Tribal Council this month as some councilmembers alleged that a subset of their colleagues had gone rogue, holding backroom meetings in which they decided to subpoena tribal departments for sensitive information as part of investigations launched without the knowledge of the full council.
Twice each year, every Cherokee tribal member gets a payout of thousands of dollars — called a per capita payment — based on profits at the two tribally owned casinos.
The afternoon of Sept. 27 took an unusual turn in the Cherokee Justice Center when Human Resources Employment Manager Patricia Watkins and a pair of Cherokee Indian Police Department officers arrived to escort Chief Justice Bill Boyum off the premises.
Tension has been high in Cherokee tribal government lately, and when rumors emerged last week that some members of Tribal Council were planning to get Principal Chief Patrick Lambert impeached, it didn’t take long for the gossip to get a public airing.
Strength in unity. Identity in culture. Power in the past. Momentum toward the future.
Despite the diversity of traditions and histories and origins populating the event center at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort this week, common ground was easy to spot among the 26 tribes represented at the annual meeting of the United South and Eastern Tribes. The three-day event drew 355 people to learn, discuss and strategize about everything from health to federal agency rulemaking to international advocacy. But before any of that began, the gathering affirmed its unity through a series of prayers, dances and ceremonies.
A tribal authority tasked with helping tribal members find housing is under investigation by the FBI for “possible criminal conduct related to certain loans and loan applications, among other matters,” according to a letter from the U.S. Department of Justice dated Oct. 4 and delivered to the program’s director, Charlene Owle.
It’s not unusual to hear a visiting veterinarian term Cherokee Animal Care Clinic an emergency day clinic, Dr. Robbie McLeod says as she takes a standing lunch break accompanied by a stethoscope, paperwork and a wiggly puppy in for its shots.
After a yearlong tug-of-war, Angela Kephart has vacated her post as a Tribal Casino Gaming Enterprise board member following the Cherokee Tribal Council’s razor-close decision to uphold July legislation shortening her term by a year to end Sept. 30.
A pair of Mercedes-Benz vans that The Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation once bestowed upon the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will remain with the tribe, Tribal Council decided earlier this month — almost exactly one year after it originally voted to cut ties with the organization and send the vans back from whence they came.