By PRINCIPAL CHIEF PATRICK LAMBERT
Happy New Year to you and your family. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and enjoyed the extended time off to spend with your friends and family. I am excited about the upcoming year, and I hope everyone is ready to buckle down and get some good things accomplished for our Tribe and all its members. Here is my monthly report for last month.
Thursday – Regular Tribal council meeting
I attended a Christmas event with the Snowbird Senior Citizens at 8am. It was so great to see everyone and visit with them for a few minutes. I returned back to Cherokee early that same day to attend an “Honor the Elders” event at the Cherokee Central Schools. Following the Elders event, I went to a Federal Bar Association Conference and gave the keynote Luncheon Speech. Later that same evening, Cyndi and I attended the Lights and Legends Event at the Fair Grounds to light the huge Christmas tree! I truly enjoy all the events I get to attend because it gives me a chance to enjoy the company of our enrolled members and see the excitement for the upcoming holidays.
Today, I left town for a one-day quick trip to Las Vegas for a meeting with a company on the possibility for development of a large Tier 4 Data Center.
I flew from Vegas to Nashville to attend the two-day BIA budget hearings. It is very important for our Tribe to be engaged in these processes and I have our Grants and Finance departments working on a good packet for submission. This year’s work will be for FY 2019 as the BIA works two years ahead in the cycle. Our Tribe has fallen far short over the past several years in applying and securing those federal dollars and I plan to do all I can to restore as much federal dollars as possible. It seems the past administration felt that because we have been blessed with a lucrative casino business we do not need to go after the “free” money any more. I disagree and feel that the federal government owes us that money and we need to do all we can to get our share. This will only help us to make our own resources stretch further and be able to do more for our members and Cherokee Families. The unfortunate fact is that we are working on two years out and will not see the fruits of this work for a couple of years, but we have to do the work now in order to secure it for the future.
This evening was the pizza party for the Yellowhill Community for winning the eating contest at the Cherokee Fair 2016. I wasn’t able to attend so a couple of my staff employees went on my behalf.
This day was a very sad day for my family. I rushed home from Nashville due to the passing of my oldest sister Henrietta. I can’t put into words what she meant to me and my family. She will surely be missed. Thank you for the prayers and words of encouragement.
Today was the annual Christmas parade, but I was unable to attend because of my sister’s funeral service.
There were two work sessions today, one was on budget stabilization and the other was to discuss the possibility of establishing a Tribal bank or Credit Union.
Held a scheduled Business Committee meeting this morning. Later in the morning I also met with NPS Superintendent Cash to discuss the huge Solar Event next year. In early August 2017, there will be a Total Solar Eclipse here and it will cause us to go into total darkness in the middle of the day for about 2-3 minutes. We are within a very narrow band all across the US that will have the Total Eclipse and it will surely be a big public draw to our area. The National Park Service wants to partner with us to conduct some public events surrounding this very special solar event. I will post more info to you as our plans are further defined.
Later in the evening, Cyndi and I attended the Cherokee County Community Christmas Dinner. We had a really good time giving away door prizes, enjoying good food and visiting with our friends there. Thank you for the invitation.
In the morning, I had several meetings with various tribal members and had a lunch meeting with the First Citizens Bank to discuss future financing options available. At 1pm, I attended a Planning Board meeting wherein we approved to proceed with plans to build a new Hotel Tower and a Convention Center capable of conducting multiple sports events. A resolution is being submitted to Tribal Council for approval.
I hosted a Christmas Breakfast at Selu for my Secretaries. We exchanged gifts and enjoyed a good breakfast with everyone that came. It was a lot of fun. After that, Cyndi and I attended the Christmas party at Tsali Manor where we gave away door prizes and spent some time visiting with our seniors and joining in the fun of giving. We really enjoy our time with our seniors every chance we get.
Today, we attended the staff luncheon at Cherokee Central Schools. We have made it an annual event to visit with our teachers and school administration before their Christmas break. We gave away door prizes there as well and even took the big wheel to give them a chance to spin for a nice prize. It was a lot of fun and I really appreciate all of the hard work our teachers do for our kids.
On this evening, I hosted a Christmas dinner for my executive office staff. We had a great evening and enjoyed the good food and company and I appreciate all of their hard work as well to make sure our families and all members of our Tribe are taken care of and helped when needed.
Today was another busy day. We joined the Wolfetown Community for their Christmas Dinner and took some door prizes there as well. The food was great and we enjoyed visiting everyone that was there.
Immediately after the Wolfetown dinner, we drove to Snowbird for the annual Snowbird Christmas dinner and got to eat a second dinner! We gave away several door prizes and had a good visit with many of our best friends! This evening was also Yellowhill’s Christmas dinner which we were unable to attend because of the others but my staff employees attended on my behalf.
This evening, we attended Big Cove’s Christmas dinner and, as usual, the food was great and the company was even better. We always love going to Big Cove to see everyone. We are always welcomed and treated like family. Tonight was also the Veteran’s Christmas dinner, but I was unable to attend that one due to my commitment to Big Cove. I sent a staff employee there on my behalf. We also gave away door prizes at both dinners as we do every year. Thank you all for the invitations!
Today, I attended the Christmas party at the Children’s home. I really enjoyed the good food and visiting with all of the children and staff. Later in the evening my family had our Christmas party at the Birdtown Community club building. It was so much fun and I enjoyed every minute visiting with most of our family. We all had hoped my big sister Henrietta would live long enough to be there, but instead she was there in spirit. I know she would have loved it because we were all together and a few took turns telling stories on her. We later went outside and lit a bunch of lanterns shaped like hearts in her memory. We will truly miss her every day.
12/22-1/3 – Dec 22nd we held our final 12th Day of Employee Christmas and spinning of the BIG WHEEL! I believe everyone has really enjoyed this idea I started and perhaps next year we can do the same (but not likely the same liberal leave days). In addition, the 22nd started our employee 12 days of Christmas. I gave “Twelve Days of Christmas” leave to spend extra time with families. I wanted everyone to know how much I appreciate our tribal employees and what better way than to be able to spend it with family, 12 straight days off work! Don’t plan for this next year but the way the calendar worked out this year it fit just right. I hope everyone enjoyed this time off because it is now time to get back to work and I expect you all to work hard for our families, show up on time and treat our people, and all those who we come into contact with thru our jobs, with respect. I know we have had a good long break to get geared up and prepare ourselves to do a good job for our Tribe. I am so excited about the prospects for advancement for our Tribe and Cherokee Families in 2017!
I resolve to continue in 2017 with the same level of commitment and energy given to our Tribe and all our members and Cherokee Families as I have demonstrated in 2016. I will always strive to do that which will be most pleasing unto Him and to do those things that are for the betterment of our Tribe and reaches the greater good. God Bless you!