My name is Sharri Pheasant. I am a member of the Bird Clan. I was raised in the Big Cove and Snowbird Communities. I am the daughter of the late Allene Ledford Watty and the late Charles Pheasant. I am the granddaughter of the late Mason and Lillian Teesateskie Ledford, and the late Driver and Nettie Swayney Pheasant.
I am writing this as our Tribe faces a trying time. We remain a people divided on issues such as impeachment, elections, corruption, misinformation, and epidemic levels of addiction in our communities. We are all Cherokee. Yet, it seems that we have succeeded in becoming our own worst enemy in regards to jealousy, fear, and hatred. It should not be this way.
Should Tribal Council and The Principal Chief decide a special election take place, Our Tribe will again be faced with a difficult decision. Will We Unite, or Will We Divide? Tribally Enrolled Members may choose to support platforms and candidates who would attack one another and cause further division. Or, they may choose to say “Ye-Li-Gwu!”, “Enough Already” and support a candidate that will help start the process of healing, unifying, and progressing our Tribe forward to meet the needs of our people locally, regionally, and nationally. We are one people. From Hanging Dog to Towstring, from Massey Branch to Rough Branch, from Big Cove Loop to 3200 Acre Tract, we can move forward together.
I have decided to give the Cherokee People a viable option in a candidate for Vice-Chief. Should we be faced with a special election, I will file as a candidate for Vice-Chief. My platform cannot be extensive as we are faced with a 2-year term to get things done, and almost 2 years has passed with little forward progress as a Tribe. My platform will be simple. My promise to every member of this Tribe is that I will run my campaign without negativity. We have already seen enough of that. As Cherokees, we should respect one another. I will treat my opponents with dignity and respect and only speak of them in a good way.
I will listen. I will hear your stories, and your concerns. I will gladly offer support during your time of loss. I will help you celebrate your achievements. I will encourage you to do more, to grow, to succeed, to recover, and to heal. COMPASSION is badly needed amongst our people. Let us return to caring for one another.
I will bring my knowledge of the workplace and Tribal Operations to the table. My EXPERIENCE encompasses 31 years of service to the Tribe. I have worked at all levels from entry-level labor to Program Manager. My work experience includes tenures at Cherokee Boys Club, Qualla Housing, WIC, Finance, Travel & Promotion, Domestic Violence Shelter, Higher Education & Training, and the Tribal Operations Program. During my 31yrs of service, I raised 4 children, assisted in raising 7 grandchildren, worked full-time, and I achieved my EDUCATIONal goals of a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Montreat College, and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Western Carolina University. I have seen some discussion recently. Some argue that an advanced degree doesn’t replace the common sense that comes from experience. Others have argued that elected officials should be required to if not aspire to have an advanced degree. I am proud to say that I possess both.
Keeping our contemporary needs in mind, we should not lose focus on our CULTURE and TRADITIONS. We cannot continue to operate as a Tribe while allowing our culture and traditions to remain at risk. The bottom line is this, “We are not producing fluent Cherokee speakers at the same rate we are losing them”. When our last fluent speaker leaves us, then our identity as a people is forever changed. Our identity is rooted in stories, songs, medicine, ballgames, and our relationship with our land. Our relationship to these cultural aspects and to one another are based in our language. I feel it is my responsibility as a mother and grandmother to protect and preserve this language for that next generation. I will remind and provoke Tribal Council and the Office of Principal Chief to treat our language, culture, and traditions as if they are in a state of emergency. We have the sovereign authority and the resources available to make these things part of our everyday workplace, education, and interaction on this boundary. I say let’s stop talking about what can be done, and move forward with doing it.
Lastly, I can only endeavor to be HONEST in all my dealings. As a candidate for Vice-Chief, I have decided to step forward to offer a new option to an old challenge. We almost always pick which politician to choose from. I am not a career politician. In fact, I don’t consider myself a politician at all. I can’t offer promises that I won’t keep. I can however, give you an honest answer when asked a question. If I don’t have the answer. I will tell you that I don’t and I will try to find you an answer. I have never centered my life around money or power. I have only ever tried to treat the people around me the way I would want to be treated myself. My granny once told me, the good that I do here for people on earth, will be rewarded when we get to heaven. This is the lesson I have always carried in my heart, and I will continue to carry it with me whether I am elected or not.
I encourage every enrolled member of the EBCI to register to vote. Voter turnout in the last election was substantially low. Every voice can be heard, IF YOU VOTE! So please register to vote. As you weigh your options for Vice-Chief, I humbly ask for your consideration and support in the event of a special election for Vice Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
Sharri Pheasant (Se-li Tv-di-s-di)
Experience & Education
Culture & Tradition