By TARAN SWIMMER
MISS CHEROKEE 2015
Siyo, greetings to all, I would like to send my deepest condolences to the family of our former Vice Chief/Wolfetown Rep. Carroll “PeeWee” Crowe. I will continue to lift you all up in my prayers for God’s strength, mercy and grace; may God continue to bless and keep you all.
I want to share with you all the events that I have had the honor of taking part in through the months of May and June.
Was at the Tribal Council Awards held at the Ceremonial Grounds. I had the honor of assisting the Tribal Council members hand out the Tribal achievement awards to our tribal members from Cherokee Central Schools, Swain Co., Jackson Co., Graham Co., Cherokee Co. public schools and the New Kituwah Academy. So very proud of all the recipients who received this award.
I was able to take part in the Cherokee Welcome Center Celebration that was held in the parking lot outside of the Cherokee Welcome Center. There were all kinds of booths set up throughout the parking lot for visitors and locals to visit and purchase craft items and food items. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed meeting some of the visitors to our boundary and encouraging them to take in as much of the attractions that we offer before they leave.
I attended the Strawberry Festival that the NAIWA women hold every year and had a blast. I got to work in the arts and crafts area for the children and helped the children make a strawberry key chain out of pony beads. I enjoy being around young children and taking part in activities with them. Thank you to the NAIWA women for letting me take part in this festival, and the strawberries where delicious.
I had the privilege to help out with the Cherokee Elementary Schools Field Day events. I love being outdoors and I love being around young people and playing games with them. I know how much I enjoyed field day when I was in school and I think these students had fun as well. Thank you Coach Erin Kirkland and Coach Rossa for allowing me to help out.
I was invited to sing the Cherokee National Anthem to open up the Athletic Banquet. It is always and honor for me to take part in any event or activity at Cherokee Central Schools, my alma mater. I played sports since I was in the 7th grade at Cherokee Central and I am a volunteer Volleyball and Soccer coach now and it was nice to take part in this event. Thank you to P-nut Crowe, CHS Athletic Director, for inviting me to be a part of the Athletic Banquet and congratulations to all of the athletes that participated in all of the sports for the school year 2015-2016. From hearing all of the comments from the coaches this night I look forward to what’s to come in the School year 2016-2017.
I had the pleasure of taking part in another field day event for the New Kituwah Academy. I enjoyed being in attendance for their academic awards program and then we had so much fun with the field day activities that the Youth Center put together. Thank you Samantha Hernandez for inviting me to take part in this event, I had so much fun with the games and also taking part in the water events. It was very special to me to be around these young boys and girls and hear our language spoken throughout the day.
I had the honor of speaking at the Cherokee Middle School 8th grade graduation. To me this a very important time in a young person life, and I am very humbled to have been asked to take part in it. I wish all of the 8th graders nothing but success as they enter into high school and hope that they continue to work hard on their academics and athletics. Let us all keep our young people in our prayers that they will have the desire and motivation to work hard for their goals and dreams and that we as a tribe will always support our young people and their education.
The end of May means a lot of things like the end of another school year, summer begins and it also means our Unto These Hills Outdoor Drama kicks off. I had the pleasure of attending the Opening Night Gala at the Unto These Hills and it was very nice. I think it is important that the visitors who come to our boundary get a chance to learn some of our history and what better way than to attend the Unto These Hill Outdoor Drama. Thank you Marina Hunley-Graham for the invite and I really enjoyed the show.
Memorial Day is a very special holiday and I am glad we have this day set aside to remember all of those who died serving our country but let us all try and be thankful every day for all of the men and women who have served and who are serving now. It was truly an honor to be able to sing the Cherokee National Anthem at the opening of Memorial Day Ceremony. Thank you to Mr. Dupree and the American Legion Steve Youngdeer Post 143 for always inviting me to participate in any event that they take part in. I am very honored to do so.
When running for the title of Miss Cherokee 2015 for my talent I wanted to sing a song called the orphan child. According to popular belief, Cherokees wrote and sang “Orphan Child” on the Trail of Tears as the American government removed them from their homes and forced them to relocate in the West. Not only did the Cherokees use the song to console one another on the Trail of Tears, but it was also a song of hope. I was asked to sing this song at the ribbon cutting of the opening of our very own Family Safety Program. This program is in place to help our people and our children. We as a tribe need to protect and take care of our own. I am so blessed to have taken part in event and would like to thank Radonna Crowe for inviting me. I would also like to thank Dvdaya Swimmer for accompanying me with this song.
I was honored and thankful to haven been asked to take part in the ground breaking ceremony for the Snowbird Senior Center. I had the privilege to sing the Cherokee National Anthem at the opening of the ceremony. It was so good to hear all of the comments that were made by the Chief, Patrick Lambert; Vice Chief, Richard Sneed; the Snowbird/Cherokee Co. council members Brandon Jones and Adam Wachacha; Deb West and others who shared what an exciting time this is for the snowbird community. Thank you again, Radonna Crowe for the invite to this event.
Thank you to Sheena Kanott and Tara McCoy for inviting me to sing at the Trail of Tears bike ride sendoff which was held at the Kituwah Mound. What an amazing opportunity for all of these individuals to take part in riding the trail of tears. From talking to former riders the experience is one they will never forget because they learned so much on the ride and experienced things that made them even prouder of who they are and where they came from. Again, I had the privilege to sing the “Orphan Child” song in honor of the previous bike riders and the present. They are still on their journey and I pray that God will continue to keep them safe and bring them home safely as well. Thanks again I really enjoyed this event.
I traveled to Washington, DC to take part in the 4-day celebration of Cherokee Day’s. At this event the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian, the Western Band of Cherokee Nation and the Kituwah Tribe where all gathered together to share with visitors our culture and arts and crafts. This event took place at the National Museum of the American Indian in DC. On the 9th we had a reception for all three tribes to meet and greet each other and gift exchanges where made among the tribal leaders. It was nice to see all of the members from the three tribes stand and share the many positive changes that where taking place within their tribes. Chief Patrick Lambert gave an amazing statement regarding some of our positive changes that have been made since he took office. As I sat and listened to his statement I was very proud of the direction that our Tribe is heading I pray that God will continue to lead and guide our tribal leaders and to always continue to bless our tribe. The rest of the evening I was able to meet other Council men/women, Chief’s and Vice Chief’s from the other tribes. I also got to meet other royalty from the Cherokee Nation. I met Cherokee Nation’s Miss Cherokee, Ja-Li-Si Pittman. It was amazed at how much Ja-Li-Si and I had in common. I have enjoyed every event I have attended so far but having the other EBCI royalty with me at this event made it even better, I was so glad Teen Miss Cherokee, Blake Wachacha; Jr. Miss Cherokee, Abigail Taylor and Little Miss Cherokee, Madison Ledford were able to attend this event as well. The 10th, 11th and 12th we had the opportunity to meet and greet the visitors that came to the National Museum of the American Indian. It was nice spending time with Miss Cherokee Nation, Ja-Li-Si Pitman, and all of the other craft demonstrators, story tellers, The Cherokee Nation Youth Choir and traditional dancers I am very thankful to God for this opportunity and for giving everyone a safe trip back to their homes.
I attended an event at the Hunter Library at Western Carolina University where the Special Collections Department was presented a copy of the Cherokee Language Version of Charlotte’s Webb by Mr. Bo Lossiah from the New Kituwah Academy. In return the Mr. Bo Lossiah was presented with a board game that is all in the Cherokee Syllabary that the Art 371 Graphic Design I class developed. I am very proud to say that I took part in creating some of the board game pieces and it was an honor to take part in presenting this board game to the New Kituwah Academy. It makes me so proud to be a part of this because I know how hard our tribe is working to keep our language alive. What an amazing step this is for our tribe. I was very honored to take part in this event and I am also very proud to be a student at Western Carolina University. Thank you Rosanna Belt for inviting me to take part.
I attended the Asheville Tourist Baseball game in Asheville, which was also EBCI night at McCormick Field. At this game I had the honor of singing the Cherokee National Anthem and the American National Anthem. I am always honored when asked to sing these two anthems, they both hold a special place in my heart. I also had the honor of throwing out the 1st pitch of the game. It was a little difficult trying to throw the baseball in a Chemise and my crown but I was glad that I got it right to the catcher’s glove. Thank you to Little Miss Cherokee, Madison Ledford and Jr. Miss Cherokee, Abigail Taylor for standing with me out on the mound while I threw the first pitch and thank you Ogana Swimmer for accompanying me with the turtle rattle for the Cherokee National Anthem. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed the game. Thank you Sharri Pheasant for setting this all up and inviting met to take part in this event, I had a blast.
My journey as Miss Cherokee has been an awesome experience and I encourage our young women to run for this title. It is a lot of work but the experience and the things that you learn on the way are worth it all. I really hope that this year we get a lot of interested young native woman to run for the title of Miss Cherokee. This title gives you more than a sash and a crown, it gives you pride within yourself to be a better person and it also gives you the determination and drive to make sure that our tribe only grows stronger. Our tribe is very strong and we need to work together and support each other so we can continue to stay strong. We are a very proud people and we need to always remember where we came from.
If there is an event that you would like for me to attend please feel free to email me at email@example.com or if you do not have access to the internet you can call or text my mother Tina Swimmer at 828-497-6303 or 828-736-6624.