By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The history and culture of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will be brought to the forefront of everyone’s minds if the Qualla Boundary Historical Society has anything to say about it. The Society, which has been in existence for a year, received formal recognition as a group by Tribal Council during their regular session on Thursday, Sept. 10.
Mary Wachacha, an EBCI tribal member from the Yellowhill Community, submitted the legislation along with Robin Crowe Swayney, manager of the Qualla Boundary Public Library where the group will be housed.
“The only reason any of us are here is because we are Cherokee,” said Wachacha. “People don’t know their history.”
She said learning one’s history is of the utmost importance and spoke of the purposes of the group as outlined in the legislation establishing the group including:
- To promote, preserve, and educate the Qualla Boundary, in their origins, family history, early history, and culture continuing to the present.
- To provide the planning and operation for the assembling and preservation of the research for the above.
- To provide an on-going means of access to, and distribution of, results of the research to those who so desire this information, and in accordance with any existing Tribal guidelines.
- To cooperate and establish partnerships with other organizations in insuring the preservation and accessibility of the records and archives of the Qualla Boundary.
“This is a wonderful thing,” said Big Cove Rep. Teresa McCoy. “The more people that we have on this Boundary seeking and studying their history is a good thing.”
Painttown Rep. Tommye Saunooke commented, “I’m so glad you’re doing this because we don’t have a historian here, and I’m afraid we’re going to lose our history.”
Chris Catolster, an EBCI tribal member and member of the Historical Society, has been working on a book on Cherokee history. “There’s a lot of misinformation out there. We have to get back to the way we were.”
The Qualla Boundary Historical Society meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month from 6:30-8pm at the Qualla Boundary Public Library.