By PRINCIPAL CHIEF RICHARD G. SNEED
Shiyo tribal members! The past few weeks have been very busy for myself and my staff. We were involved with Halloween events, regional meetings, and serving the needs of enrolled members.
On Monday, Oct. 29, I was invited to attend a Trail of Tears and National Park Service joint Sign Dedication at the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC). This sign marks the point where the Trail of Tears intersects the Appalachian Trail on the campus of the NOC. I welcome any opportunity to educate the general public regarding the history and culture of the Cherokee people. This sign is such an opportunity, giving hikers on the Appalachian Trail some education regarding the Trail of Tears and the plight of our ancestors.
This past week, I attended several meetings and events. Regional Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Trey Glenn visited the EBCI on Thursday, Nov. 8 to tour the Qualla Boundary, specifically learning more about our natural resources and the ways we preserve and protect those resources. This meeting provided our Water Quality experts the chance to present the EBCI Water Quality Standards packet to the EPA. The Environment and Natural Resources Division has been developing these standards over the past few years, and gives the programs the authority and tools to protect the water quality of the EBCI streams and rivers. I am incredibly proud of this program for the completion of this work to protect our resources, especially our water.
Tribal and regional leaders in the judicial realm of our communities gathered this past Thursday to discuss issues surrounding Drug & Human Trafficking. This convening was held to bring different individuals and programs together to provide an update regarding their work and ultimately to encourage partnership building and strengthening the communication efforts of all involved. I was pleased to speak to the group, but was even more pleased to listen in on the important work these individuals do on behalf of the most vulnerable amongst us.
I ended the week by joining the EBCI Education Program for lunch to show my appreciation for their work to help our students navigate the enrollment and payment processes of the college or university of their choice. This program was incredibly taxed this year, experiencing an increase in students participating the program while being short staffed. However, they gave their time and effort to make sure each student was handled with proper consideration and respect.
My office is always available to assist you if you have any need or request. Please call 359-7002 if I may be of service to you.