By PRINCIPAL CHIEF PATRICK LAMBERT
Over the course of the past month there have been many events and activities to help us all grow as a community and bind us all tighter as a family! Following is a review on a few of these events and a report on my actions on your behalf over the past month.
Saturday, Oct. 1
Today, Cyndi and I participated in the Cherokee Harvest Half Marathon and 5K. It was a perfect day for the race. I ran the half marathon with a personal best time and Cyndi ran the 5K with her personal best time as well. There was a great turn out and the streets looked the best they ever have. Thank you to all the tribal employees and to all the volunteers! I look forward to next year’s race.
Monday, Oct. 3
Open of Annual Council.
Tuesday, Oct. 4
Prior to the Parade today, I attended the Anti-Drug Rally at the Cherokee Schools. We had the entire student body attend and listen to drug awareness and education on the dangers of drug use and abuse.
After the anti-drug rally, I attended a meeting with Tribal IT and Verizon to further discuss the building of new cell phone towers and running of fiber to each of the towers. We have been steady at work to make sure all areas of the Qualla Boundary and Snowbird have reliable cellular and data coverage.
Also prior to the parade, I had the honor of a visit from our new upcoming NC Attorney General, Mr. Josh Stein. He came to my office and we were able to sit and discuss many issues facing our Tribe. He has pledged his support to pay close attention to our issues and I look forward to his election and service to North Carolina.
Today was the Cherokee Indian Fair parade. Cyndi and I walked in the parade together greeting our people, shaking hands and kissing babies 😉 I believe this was the most watched parade ever and also the largest with many, many participants. The weather was perfect, and it was so good to see so many come out for it.
After the parade, I gave the opening welcome to kick off the fair. This year’s Fair was packed with several events including stickball games, competitions, plenty of good food and some new events sponsored by my office.
Also, tonight was the Miss Cherokee Pageant. This pageant has in recent years been held at the high school, but the Fair Committee decided to move it back to the opening night of the Fair where it has been held in the past. Each of the young women did an outstanding job and represented our Tribe beautifully. I’d like to congratulate Miss Amorie Gunter on being named Miss Cherokee 2016-2017. I know she will represent our Tribe well.
Wednesday, Oct. 5
Early this morning we started out the day with the Annual Prayer Breakfast. I was happy to be a part of this and enjoyed visiting with good people and sharing a wonderful breakfast with them. A special thank you to Marie Junaluska for continuing this tradition.
Today was also Children’s Day at the Fair, and it was a lot of fun! The day started out with the Baby Crawling Contest and we all had a great laugh and joined in celebrating the losers as well as the winners! While the rides this year were not great, next year we will get a new contract and put on a better carnival. In spite of that, everyone seemed to really enjoy their day.
This evening was the Little Miss and Teen Miss Cherokee Pageants. I was amazed at the beautiful young ladies that competed, and I’d like to congratulate Nevayah Panther as Little Miss Cherokee and Jade Ledford as Teen Miss Cherokee. I know these young ladies will represent our Tribe well.
Thursday, Oct. 6
Thursday was Elder’s Day at the Fair. But, prior to attending with the elders I had the pleasure of having breakfast with Miss North Carolina and several other beauty queens from across the state. I am glad they could come and visit with us during the fair.
At the Elders lunch, I had the pleasure of visiting with many of our elders. I believe it was a record attendance here as well; I never remember seeing this many elders at the Fair on Elder’s Day. But, it was so great to see everyone. As always, the food was delicious and there was plenty of help to serve, thank you to everyone that volunteered.
This evening was the Junior Miss Cherokee Pageant. Again, there were some beautiful young ladies that competed in this pageant. I’d like to congratulate Miss Alitama Perkins as our Junior Miss Cherokee. I know she will represent our Tribe well, and I am proud to have her, and I look forward to each of the ladies traveling to many of the same events I will be attending as well.
Friday, Oct. 7
Today was Veteran’s Day at the Fair. It is always an honor for me to participate in all the Veteran’s events and to be in the presence of such honorable men and women. Since I have been in office, we have made real strides in making sure we take good care of these men and women and show how much we respect and appreciate the sacrifices they have made.
Saturday, Oct. 8
Today was Community Day at the Fair. A couple of new events were added this year and sponsored by my office – the first being a prayer circle, which has never been done before. I wanted to bring our community together for prayer, and it was good to see over 100 people join us in this prayer circle. We have a lot to be thankful for. And we also have the need for a lot of prayer for our Tribe, our Country, our families and ourselves. I want to thank everyone that participated in this event and hopefully next year the circle will be even bigger.
Another event my office sponsored was the Community Eating Contest. This was a lot of fun to watch and everyone had a good time in having a little fun at the expense of others. I hope to have an even better contest next year. The winner of this contest was the Yellowhill Community which was given a trophy and a $1,000 donation to their community. My office staff will be serving them a pizza dinner at their next community club meeting. We had some good laughs with everyone that participated.
Overall, this year’s Fair was the best one ever. There was record attendance, the stickball games were the best in my memory with the highest attendance ever and the weather was perfect all week. The spirit of our people just seemed more uplifted and positive and I truly enjoyed myself this year and I feel confident that we will keep that same feeling in years to come.
Thank you to the Fairgrounds staff, all volunteers, all the cooks, all the vendors and everyone that came out to enjoy a truly great tradition.
Monday, Oct. 10 and Tuesday, Oct. 11
These two days were Annual council days and several work sessions.
Wednesday, Oct. 12
This morning, I had a breakfast meeting with Tribal Council and TCGE to discuss economic developments. We are looking at perhaps developing a larger convention center and hotel and some other developments that will help spur growth and new investments. Later in the morning, we had work sessions in council chambers.
Later in the day, I hosted a short meeting with a group of senior citizens from the Cherokee Nation. We had some good laughs and made several new friends.
I also attended the funeral for “Girlie” in Big Cove. My prayers go out to her family. She will be missed.
Thursday, Oct. 13
Today, I issued an Executive Order lifting the purported hiring/firing freeze that Tribal Council had imposed on us. I immediately signed authorizations and put about 70 people to work that had been put on hold due to this.
Friday, Oct. 14
Today, I spent catching up on office work and having several staff meetings
Monday, Oct. 17
I started the day with staff updates and then had a work session with Tribal Council regarding the Budget Stabilization ordinance. Later in the afternoon, I had meetings with several tribal members on constituent issues and worked on several program matters.
Tuesday, Oct. 18
Another Annual Council day
Wednesday, Oct. 19
Today, I started with several meetings regarding tribal members concerns and worked those toward being resolved. Cyndi and I then attended the groundbreaking for the New Snowbird Early Childhood Education Center.
Thursday, Oct. 20
Today, my office staff held another Bingo Day at the fairgrounds. It was called “Pink Bingo” in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. There were over 80 people that attended and it was great to visit with everyone.
Friday, Oct. 21
Today, I hosted principals from four of our area high schools (Cherokee, Swain, Jackson and Graham) to give them a contribution to help support drug education and awareness efforts in their schools. We also had invited Murphy, but they could not make the meeting. I firmly believe we must do all we can to educate our children about the dangers of even a single use of heroin.
Also, I want to recognize the importance of the week beginning Oct. 23 as being “Red Ribbon Week”. This week is to recognize and support anti-drug rally’s and drug education and awareness. In honor of this week besides the contribution to the area schools, I lined every one of my Executive Staff and Appointed Secretaries from each of our Departments up and we took a hair test to show we are drug free. Every one of us passed!
Sunday, Oct. 23
Today started out with me attending the opening meeting for the Board of Indian Law Resource Center where I gave them a welcome address. This was also the first day of USET week which started out with a Board of Directors meeting at the Casino in the afternoon.
Monday, Oct. 24 – Thursday, Oct. 27
This week was USET sponsored by the EBCI and held at the Event center at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort. We had 26 Tribes represented with over 300 participants. We are told this was the highest attended USET meeting ever. There was a lot of good meetings and exchange of ideas and information between our USET Tribes. We are planning the next Annual Meeting to be held here again next year.
Tuesday, Oct. 25
This evening was Snowbird’s Annual Halloween Carnival which is always a lot of fun for me and Cyndi. There was a lot of participation from the community and we had a great time visiting with good friends and seeing all the kids and adults dressed up. Thank you for a good time Snowbird Community.
Wednesday, Oct. 26
Today, I attended the groundbreaking for the Senior Recreation Center in Birdtown. This training center will be helpful to our seniors as they get ready for the senior games each year. Here, they will be able to practice horseshoes, bocce and shuffleboard. I am very excited for this project to be completed as soon as possible so our seniors can enjoy a place to practice these games. They already win a lot of medals, but this may help ensure even more! Also, when our Bowling Center gets completed they will be able to sharpen their skills in bowling for the Senior Games as well. It’s a very exciting time for our Tribe and our elders, and I promise to continue doing all I can to make sure they get all they rightfully deserve.
Thursday, Oct. 27
Today, we wrapped up a great week of meetings with USET and had a closed session with the USET staff and Tribal Council prior to their departure. Some great ideas moving forward and I look forward to building our relationship with USET and getting more value from our efforts there.
Also, I must report that today, my two staff members, Raggedy Ann & Raggedy Andy, went and visited the children at Dora Reed and scheduled Friday at New Kituwah. Thanks guys!
Friday, Oct. 28
Today, I had the honor of attending the listening session between our veterans from the American Legion and Director Kevin Gover of the National Museum of American Indians at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC and his staff. We met to discuss the upcoming development of the National Native American Veterans Memorial to honor our long history of serving in the United States armed forces in greater numbers per capita than any other racial population in the United States. This monument will be developed and built on the Washington Mall, close to the U. S. Capitol Building. It will be a real honor for our Tribe and all the other American Indian Veterans in our Country.
Later in the afternoon, I met with former Congressman Bob Etheridge who now serves as the Executive Director of the USDA Farm Service Agency. We discussed and collaborated on the new Department of Agriculture I am developing within our tribal structure. There are many resources he has that will greatly benefit our new department and I look forward to utilizing many of the grant programs offered thru him by the USDA.
Saturday, Oct. 29
Tonight was the Birdtown Halloween Carnival and the Big Cove Halloween Carnival. I know they had a lot of fun and a lot of participation. Cyndi went as Flo on the Progressive Insurance commercials. Haha! A lot of fun and a lot of work. Thanks to each of the Community Clubs for hosting a great family event for your community!
In closing, let me say thank you. This month, we all came together in many different events and activities and it felt like a great big family gathering all month!
Also, I should mention the political struggles we have at times… and on this point… I have to say thank you for all the show of support! I will always honor my promises to you and work every day to fulfill the expectations of me.
Watch for my full report coming in a few weeks on all our 1st Year work and achievements.
God Bless you and your family!