By RICHARD G. SNEED
Our Cherokee community has been under immense grief these past few weeks. The number of loved ones lost is heartbreaking and has taken a toll on us all. My thoughts and prayers are with each of those who have lost loved ones. I will continue praying for you and your family.
I have had the pleasure of meeting with several organizations and individuals these past few weeks. I had lunch with the clients and staff at Vocational Opportunities of Cherokee. They were able to share their experiences with the programs, and I very much enjoyed spending time with this group. My next visit was with the Dialysis Center in Cherokee. My office had received a request for Tums from the center and were happy to deliver those items and meet with the patients. I understand the process is not easy for many of these individuals and I hope to do all I can to lessen the burden on those clients. I was able to visit with Miss Swearengin’s 2nd Grade class. The school recently celebrated their 100th Day, and I was happy to speak with the kids encouraging them to continue to give their best. These visits remind me of my purpose as Principal Chief. I look forward to continuing meeting with additional organizations to learn of their issues and successes. Lastly, I have enjoyed dining with the winners of the Ugly Sweater Contest from the Employee Christmas Breakfast. This has been a great opportunity to thank these individuals for participating in the contests at the Christmas Breakfast.
Representatives from the South Central Foundation are visiting the Cherokee Indian Hospital to complete a training session. This Foundation conducts training programs to help individuals deal with their grief and trauma to better serve their patients. The goal of the Cherokee Indian Hospital is to have some staff learn to provide the training to community members.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians purchased property and a building in Franklin. This property is connected to Nikwasi Mound and provides a potential opportunity to showcase our Cherokee history and culture in Franklin. The Museum of the Cherokee Indian has been tasked with completing the necessary studies to determine the best use of the property. I would like to thank all the stakeholders that are working on this important initiative and look forward to seeing the results of their work.