By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Tribal Council passed a resolution during their regular session on Thursday, Jan. 8 that calls for “the planning and implementation of a Tribal government owned gas station/convenience store.”
“I think it’s time for our Tribe to think about setting up additional enterprises,” said Principal Chief Michell Hicks who submitted the legislation. “I think there is great opportunity here. I think it should be tribally-owned.”
Chief Hicks said he is tired of having to pay more for gas on the reservation than in other surrounding areas. “Many of our members are driving off the Boundary to buy gas.”
Vice Chairman Bill Taylor remarked, “I think it needs to be controlled by the Tribe. I’m in support of this, but I don’t want to see it drug out. I just want to see that if we pass this today that we jump on it and get it done quickly.”
During the discussion of the legislation on Thursday, several amendments were made before the final passing. Yellowhill Rep. B. Ensley made an amendment that the Division of Commerce has 60 days to present a plan and proposal to Tribal Council on the gas station.
Cherokee County – Snowbird Rep. Adam Wachacha made an amendment to include the feasibility of tribally-owned gas stations in Cherokee County and Snowbird communities. On the idea of having one in Snowbird, he commented, “We do have one of the most traveled roads in that county (Graham) with the (Cherohola) Skyway and the Dragon’s Tail.”
Big Cove Rep. Perry Shell suggested looking into partnering with the Cherokee Boys Club to supply gasoline to the business, and Wolfetown Rep. Bo Crowe suggested offering healthy food options in the adjoining convenience store.
Amy Walker, a tribal elder residing in the 3200 Acre Tract, noted, “This is a wonderful idea. There’s been this need for many years, but my concern is that some of the tribally-run businesses are not making money.”
Big Cove Rep. Teresa McCoy commented, “I think just about most of us go out on the four-lane to buy some gas to save money. I’m in favor of this, and I have been for some time.”