By JUANITA WILSON
RIGHT PATH PROGRAM
The Right Path Adult Leadership Program, known as “Du-yu dv-i,” has received its first private donation. Dr. Larry Patterson, of Nashville, Tenn., has stepped forward to donate this gift to the program in honor of the late Cherokee Elder Walker Calhoun.
Patterson, who holds an Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction, got to know Calhoun while developing his doctoral dissertation on the Cherokee Boarding School. “I became known as ‘the Boarding School Guy,’” Patterson mused.
Right Path graduated its second cohort of leaders in September. This culturally-based adult leadership program provides a unique blend of in-depth Cherokee traditional and cultural knowledge-building, and leadership development. Its foundation is based on the Cherokee’s ancestral belief system that great leadership is about selfless service to the whole community, not just a select few.
Former Right Path leader, Lucretia Hicks Dawkins commented, “We have gotten away from the way our ancestors wanted us to live and now we have all kinds of (social) issues. More people need to experience this program.”
Former Principal Chief Joyce Dugan said, “Leading is not about power. It’s about empowerment of the people to nurture them to step up into the shoes of leadership.”
Juanita Wilson, program manager, related, “The Right Path is helping the EBCI produce leaders who will be guided by their cultural roots, which I believe is a critical characteristic that must be nurtured. Walker believed that we have been gradually losing our traditions, that it has been happening over the past 50 years. He was adamant that we remind the young ‘who they are’ as Cherokees.”
Dr. Patterson considers his contribution to be a way to support a program that will prepare the Cherokee generations standing at the reins of leadership to lead from the perspective of their ancestors.
“It is a great honor and pleasure to be able to help get private donations started to this noble program,” Patterson said.
If you are interested in donating to the Right Path Adult Leadership Program, contact Juanita Wilson at 828-736-0922, or email@example.com.