By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
For 17 years, the Junaluska Leadership Council (JLC) has honored EBCI tribal elders on the last Wednesday of October in honor of late Snowbird Community leader Ned Long. This year’s event was held on Wednesday, Oct. 28 at the Cherokee Youth Center and Distinguished Citizen certificates were presented to Geraldine Thompson, Peanut French, Alfred Welch and Edith Crowe.
Thompson, a retired nurse who is now active in the Senior Games and volunteering at Tsali Manor, was honored by JLC students from Swain County High School. She said she wants the youth of today to “remember to avoid the use of drugs and going down the wrong path.” She also stressed the need for young people to receive a good education.
French, a U.S. Navy veteran, was honored by JLC students from Smoky Mountain High School. When asked what advice he would give to the youth, he stated, “The most important thing we can do is to take advantage of our educational opportunities by attending college, receiving a good education, and be able to use that knowledge to help better the future of our tribe.”
French was unable to attend Wednesday’s event so his brother, Big Cove Rep. Richard French, accepted the certificate for him.
Welch, a U.S. Army veteran who served in the Vietnam War, was honored by the JLC students from Robbinsville High School. His advice to the youth is, “Don’t be lazy, and when you are told to do something, do it.” He also advises the youth to get a good education and not to waste their Minor’s Fund distribution check.
Crowe, an avid supporter of the Cherokee Braves Booster Club and volunteer at Tsali Manor, was honored by the JLC students from Cherokee High School. Her advice to today’s youth is, “Listen to your parents. Go to school and get a good education. Enjoy yourself while you’re young. Stay away from drugs. Do something that makes everyone proud of you. Don’t have any children. Once you have them, everything stops.”
Miss Cherokee Taran Swimmer helped to welcome everyone to the event along with Teen Miss Cherokee Blake Wachacha, Little Miss Cherokee Madison Ledford and Taylor Nelson, JLC chairperson.
Swimmer commented, “Our elders have the knowledge, experience and culture of life…it is important to treat them well and learn from their experiences. We need to respect our past so we can improve our future.”
Bradley Parker, JLC member, told of the history of Ned Long Day and its namesake. “Junaluska Leadership Council respected Ned Long’s involvement in community and the passion he had for ensuring for the well-being of the Cherokee people. Mr. Long was a lifetime resident of the Snowbird Community.”
He further commented, “He was very active in the political happenings of the Tribe. He was very concerned and willing to work to improve relationships between the Snowbird Community and the Tribe.”
In addition to the four Distinguished Citizen Awards, the Cristyn Jones Youth Leadership Award was presented to Joi Owle, a graduate of Cherokee High School who served on the JLC while there. Owle is currently a sophomore chemistry major at Western Carolina University with the goal of attending medical school specializing in pediatrics or neurology. She was recently selected as the region representative for the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES).
The Cherokee High School JROTC Color Guard presented the colors to open the event. This was followed by the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in the Cherokee language led by JLC members and the singing of the “Star-Bangled Banner” by Jacob Sneed.
To view or purchase photos from this event, visit: https://onefeather.smugmug.com/2015-Community-Events-and-News/17th-Annual-Ned-Long-Day/i-BVrfVmr