By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Human remains, believed to be of historic Cherokee origin, were found recently at a construction site in Macon County for the Parker Meadows recreation complex. Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians tribal leaders have consulted with Macon County officials to resolve the issue in the best interest of the remains.
Principal Chief Michell Hicks, after a meeting with Macon County leaders regarding the Parker Meadows development project, said, “The EBCI is committed to protecting our cultural heritage. Our long standing relationship with our friends in Macon County has helped us achieve a resolution to these challenges in the past and I am confident this situation will find a similar resolution.”
Tyler Howe, EBCI THPO specialist, related that the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has been in consultation on this project from the start. “When we looked at the maps, we kind of all had a feeling that there was going to be something out there. So, Macon County did the right thing and did some Phase 1 archaeology.”
Howe said the remains were discovered at the site during the Phase 1 archaelogy which included initial shovel tests followed by opening up some additional areas. A Memorandum of Understanding was agreed to between the Tribe, Macon County, and the State of North Carolina to investigate the site. “It is not a large site, but it is an important site for the Tribe.”
“In that site,” Howe added, “there was one burial that was discovered. It was a burial that, unfortunately, had been slightly impacted by golf course construction. But, the vast majority of the burial is intact.”
Howe said a site visit by tribal leaders and county leaders is forthcoming. “It’s being done the way it should be done. Macon County is doing the right thing. They are being good neighbors, and they are being good stewards of Cherokee culture.”
Derek Roland, Macon County manager, was quoted in the Macon County News at a Macon County Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, July 8, “We wanted to ensure that whatever actions we take will be respectful of the Eastern Band. We have forged a great relationship with the Tribe and want to make sure that we continue that throughout this project.”
Howe said that all of the other archaeology at the site will either be left in place or filled over. “No other disturbing will occur at the site.”