By JEAN JONES
ONE FEATHER EDITOR
The Junaluska Leadership Council, under the leadership of Radonna Crowe, recognized tribal elders as Distinguished Citizens at the 14th Annual Ned Long Day program held at the Cherokee Youth Center on Thursday, Oct 30.
Honor the Elders Day, named after Ned Long, is one of several community events the council sponsors. Crowe commented, “The Junaluska Leadership Council members nominate and select the Distinguished Citizens based on the positive impact they have made in the community and especially the positive impact they have made on the youth of our Tribe. The Distinguished Citizen Awards are a great honor not only because the recipients are being recognized for their contributions to the community but because they are being recognized by our young people.”
The Junaluska Leadership Council is a youth leadership program comprised of Native American youth enrolled in Cherokee High School, Swain County High School, Smoky
Mountain High School, and Robbinsville High School. “The program provides the opportunity to our young people to develop into strong and mindful leaders. They are given the opportunity to receive hands on education in creating, planning, and developing community projects, working hand in hand with our Tribal government, working with students from different schools and backgrounds. It helps them to develop the confidence in themselves that they can make a difference in our community!” Crowe continued.
Opening the program was the Cherokee High School Color Guard performing the Presentation of Colors. CHS Cherokee language class reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to America, and Jacob Sneed singing the United Cherokee Anthem.
Tagan Crowe, Junaluska Leadership chairman, gave opening comments and recognized special guests.
The first award, the Cristyn Jones Youth Leadership award, was presented to Kate Cooper of the Birdtown community. In honor of Cristyn Jones, who passed away in July 2011, this award was created to recognize a young person for his/her contributions and leadership in the community. Cooper was selected by the entire council for her involvement in school and community activities and for being a role model for Cherokee youth.
The recipients of the Distinguished Citizen awards were announced next. Representatives from each of the schools presented a plague to their school’s chosen tribal elders for Distinguished Citizen. They are:
Amy Thompson – presented by Amy West, Swain County High School
Dorothy Swimmer – presented by Zane Huskey and Bradley Parker, Smokey Mountain High School
“Peewee” Crowe – presented by Tagan Crowe, Cherokee High School
Maggie Owle – presented by Zane Wachacha and Katelyn Black, Robbinsville High School
In closing, Crowe stated, “I feel honored to work with such a great group of young leaders. I am always in awe of their ability to take an idea they have and make it a reality.”