By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
In recent years, there has been some confusion as to what the official name of the Tribe is – Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians or Eastern Band of Cherokee Nation. Tribal enrollment cards and tribal employee pay stubs both say Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, but the seal emblazoned on those say Eastern Band of Cherokee Nation.
Tribal Council ended that confusion as they passed Ord. No. 262 (2016), submitted jointly by Principal Chief Patrick Lambert and Tribal Council Chairman Bill Taylor, during their regular session on Thursday, July 7. The legislation states in part, “in the recent past and without regard to the Tribe’s legal status or practical implications, certain agents of the Tribe began to promote and publish commercially and otherwise the Tribe’s name as ‘Eastern Band of Cherokee Nation’…”
The legislation, which was passed unanimously after one floor amendment, amended Cherokee Code Section 117.49 to state that Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians “shall be the official name and legal identification for the Tribal government.” A new Tribal seal was also introduced and passed with the legislation
During discussion on the issue on Thursday, July 7, Chief Lambert said, “I think we all recognize the importance of this.”
He said the date on the new seal is March 11, 1889. “That’s the date that this Tribe adopted and had North Carolina adopt the Charter and Governing Document that we operate under today.”
The previous seal listed a date of Nov. 28, 1870 which Chief Lambert said is the date that the Lloyd Welch Constitution was adopted.
Chairman Taylor commented, “Before 1997, the seal had read Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and then it was changed to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Nation. To me, I think we’ve always been the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and that’s why I’m in support of this. I think it needs to go back to the way it was.”
Painttown Rep. Marie Junaluska commented on the seal which has ivy leaves and said that older seals used oak leaves instead. “The oak is a hardwood and symbolizes the strength of the Tribe.”
Myrtle Driver, EBCI Beloved Woman, agreed, “It is our understanding that it is the oak leaf that is the correct one for the middle (of the seal) because it’s supposed to represent holding hands in unity.”
Chief Lambert recommended a floor amendment that the seal be changed to use the oak leaves in place of the ivy leaves. That amendment was accepted unanimously.
The seal that was in use prior to Thursday was adopted in Res. No. 692 (1997) which was passed on Sept. 25, 1997. That legislation was submitted by then-Principal Chief Joyce Dugan so that the seal could be officially trademarked. That seal was officially registered through the U.S. Office of Patents and Trademarks on Jan. 18, 2000 and was renewed on Jan. 12, 2010.
At the end of Thursday’s discussion, Yellowhill Rep. Anita Lossiah commented that the Tribe does need to update the seal with the Trademark office.