By TONYA CARROLL
MISS CHEROKEE 2010
Since you last heard from me I have been very busy fulfilling my duties as your Miss Cherokee 2010.
On Friday, Nov. 19, 2010 I traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina for the 15th Annual American Indian Heritage Celebration. The celebration was on Saturday, Nov. 20. At the event, I participated in Grand Entry, accepted gifts on behalf of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, and danced with the Warriors of AniKituwa.
After returning home, I joined our elders at Tsali Manor on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010 for a birthday and Thanksgiving celebration. I was honored to meet so many of our elders and talk with them. They are a wonderful bunch, and I look forward to visiting them again soon. Also, the staff at Tsali Manor works very hard to ensure our elders are in good hands and they do a wonderful job.
On Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010 I participated in the 2nd Annual Jingle Bell Walk in Asheville. The 5K run/walk started at 9am and it was very cold. I chose to participate in this event because there are a number of tribal members suffering from arthritis including some of my relatives. This walk is important because it raises money for research to try to find a cure for arthritis.
I was also able to volunteer at the Christmas Store sponsored by Family Support and organized by Leslie Lossiah on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010. This store helps low income families purchase items for their children for Christmas at a tenth of the cost. This is a wonderful program, and our tribe is lucky to have such dedicated people helping our community.
On Thursday evening, Dec. 9, 2010, I was able to participate in my first Christmas Parade as Miss Cherokee in Waynesville. This was a wonderful experience. I received a lot of positive crowd participation and felt honored that I was able to represent the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in this parade.
That Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010, I rode in the Cherokee Christmas parade. It is always fun to get to participate in events in Cherokee and this was no exception. I enjoyed waving and wishing the spectators a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
Also in the month of December, I was able to attend a luncheon on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010 for the Madison Hornbuckle Children’s Cancer Foundation in the new Paula Deen Restaurant at the Casino Hotel. This Foundation is very important, not only to our Tribe but to the Western North Carolina region because they provide monetary assistance to families that have a child or children with cancer. Madison Hornbuckle was an EBCI tribal member that died of cancer at the young age of eleven. At the event I was able to say a few words and I took that opportunity to thank Madison’s family, the people involved in starting and running the Foundation, and the donors.
The same day, I was able to attend a Christmas party at Tsali Care Center. At the party I gave the residents and staff a large Christmas card that my grandmother Dee Smith made with the help of my aunt Phyll Reed. I was also able to walk around and greet each family. It was a joy to get to meet some of the residents and wish them a Happy Holiday.
After the Holidays I was able to attend Swain West Elementary School on Jan. 21. I was able to plan a program for the fifth grade class at the elementary school that included demonstrating a few Cherokee social dances and teaching them some words in Cherokee. Matt Tooni was able to come with me to the program and sing the dance songs for us. The children really enjoyed the program and asked a lot of great questions about Cherokee and our culture. I am looking forward to going to all the local schools during my reign.
In closing, I would like to thank everyone who has helped me fulfill my duties the past few months. They include my family, friends, and the Royalty Board. I would also like to thank my co-workers and supervisor at Qualla Arts and Crafts for graciously allowing me time off to attend events.
Finally, I would like to thank Janice Owle for allowing me to use her car for the Waynesville and Cherokee Christmas parades and Harold R. Bradley for detailing and driving the car.