Si yo. My name is Lavita Hill and I am seeking a seat as Tribal Council representative for the Big Cove/Tow String Community. My parents are Barbara Sequoyah Hill and Sylvester “Sonny” Hill, my maternal grandparents are Emerson and Phyllis Sequoyah and my paternal grandparents are Jesse Hill, Sr. and Yonnie Watty Hill. I have three children, Aura, Aia, and Raven Johnson. We live together in Big Cove, on Soggy Hill Road.
I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from Western Carolina University and am currently working towards my Master’s Degree in Accounting. I am employed with our casino as a Staff Accountant II, and worked previously in the EBCI Finance Division for 10 years and worked for three years at the EBCI Cooperative Extension, employed by NC State University. I promise that I will use this diverse background in finance to ensure accountability and feasibility are not empty ideas, but are THE key factors when tribal funds are involved.
“Empowerment, not Enabling” is my platform because I strongly feel our Cherokee people are strong, intelligent warriors, not just survivors, and I am determined to lead our new generations into an era of service, gratitude, and a positive attitude. I am a strong believer that our Tribal government is not responsible for our homes, our bills, nor our happiness or sadness. I believe we can learn to move away from a sense of entitlement, and start working towards a future where we are not only grateful for those things that we take for granted every day, but we choose to limit the impact that those things have in our lives altogether. This idea is not to undermine the incredible resources we are blessed with as enrolled members, but to say we are responsible for ourselves – I am responsible for me; you’re responsible for you. And if you find that you need help, we do have programs that get you back on your feet but were not designed for your personal upkeep for the long term.
Entitlement is our attitude about the services we receive, for instance, healthcare. We have FREE healthcare, something that no one else in the country has. Yet we thumb our nose at how long it takes to be seen, how they didn’t have this or that medicine, or we dwell on a person’s attitude toward you. I am currently a member of Patient Family Advisory Council (PFAC) for the Cherokee Indian Hospital so if you have ideas, suggestions, or solutions on how to improve any service that is currently offered by our hospital, then I would love to hear from you. As another option, how about we take the time to give some thanks for our free health care within Cherokee Indian Hospital and through outside vendors because of Contract Health. Think about a coworker, who isn’t a tribal member, who has to pay a high insurance premium, taking food off the table, hoping their policy covers whatever ailment they have. Be thankful for what you have.
I work very hard to give of myself through service to my community, the tribe and surrounding area. I am currently the Secretary for the Big Cove Community Club. I have also assisted with and administered the VITA program, helped with roadside cleanup, Day of Caring and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. My family also sponsors three children in other countries, and donate regularly to various charities to help kids have Christmas, hot lunches, and school clothes and supplies. Giving back and practicing Gadugi is not an option, it is who I am and it is who we are as Cherokee people.
If I am elected as your Tribal Council Representative, I will approach each decision with an open mind and an open heart. I will do my absolute best to make strategic choices for the well-being of the people. I will make strong decisions for Cherokee. I will analyze all facets of the issues, balance needs and concerns in order to reach sound decisions, and make decisions that have beneficial long-term results. I will strive to gain the respect and trust of the other members of Council, so that we may work as a dedicated group whose primary concerns are for the betterment of our Tribe. I also pledge to act in accordance within the constraints, bylaws of the Charter and vow never to use my position as a way to settle personal vendettas or to influence anyone’s decision for personal gain.
I realize with our current state of affairs, whomever is elected must first get to work on our Tribal Governing Documents! We need a Constitution that clearly defines and outlines the roles and responsibilities of each branch of our government. We desperately need separation of power where our Tribal government is concerned – separation, and equal power, between the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of government. Therefore we must elect Tribal Council members capable of governing themselves. It is my goal to serve the people of the Big Cove/Tow String Community and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, fairly, honestly, intelligently, and with love and humility. I also aim to promote Cultural Preservation, Education, and Economic Development – Together we can Solidify our Cultural Identity, Empower our Communities, and Enhance our Tribe.