By RICHARD G. SNEED
Representing the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) as Principal Chief is an honor and a privilege. I am awarded many opportunities to serve the proud citizens of the EBCI, and I am thankful for each opportunity granted me. These past few weeks have granted me many such chances and I would like to update you regarding the work I have been doing on your behalf.
I serve as a co-chair on the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Tribal Advisory Committee (TAC), which is comprised of representatives from tribes across the country. Vickie Bradley, the Secretary of Public Health and Human Services, and I travelled to Atlanta, Ga. for a TAC meeting to address the public health of the EBCI and native nations across the United States. I am happy to report that the EBCI will be hosting a summer session of the TAC in Cherokee bringing light to many of the issues faced by our enrolled members. Any opportunity we are granted to educate decision makers regarding the history and culture of the EBCI we must do so, and I am excited to invite CDC officials to the Qualla Boundary. I will provide additional details regarding this committee meeting as the event approaches.
The EBCI has a special relationship with the Georgia Swarm Lacrosse team located in Atlanta. The Georgia Swarm invited members of the EBCI to a game, granting free admission to our community members. I always enjoy watching lacrosse especially when I am able to do so with so many of our enrolled members in attendance.
Several representatives from the Eastern Band attended the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Feb. 11-14. I was pleased to meet with many Congressional and Senate leaders that represent western North Carolina and the United States. I am always eager to share the issues that are facing the EBCI and I appreciate the support the Eastern Band has in Washington. Several representatives from the EBCI Tribal Council joined me in meeting with these representatives and I appreciate their input and their work to improve the lives of enrolled members.
Upon my return from Washington, DC, my staff arranged gifts and a special visit with the seniors at Tsali Manor. Susie Welch was crowned as the Queen of Hearts and I was given the special task of crowning Wilbur Paul as the King of Hearts. The Valentine’s Party arranged by Tsali Manor was eventful and very entertaining. My office staff assisted with arranging for door prizes from our office and a special card and cookies for each senior citizen. I appreciate my staff and the staff at Tsali Manor for their work towards making this event special for our seniors. A few staff members represented me at the Snowbird Senior Center while I was in DC the day before Valentine’s Day, and my wife Trina and I visited the John Welch Senior Center the day after Valentine’s Day.
My staff and I take every chance given to have interactions with the senior citizens of the EBCI, giving us the opportunity to gain insight and feedback regarding the issues facing enrolled members. While I appreciate each interaction, bowling days are by far one of my favorite ways to visit with our seniors. The Senior Bowling League again joined the Office of the Principal Chief, the Office of the Vice Chief, Tribal Council, and the EBCI Secretaries for a bowling event. This gives our seniors an opportunity for exercise, and the rest of us an opportunity for a good dose of humility. The senior bowling league is made up of some serious athletes and I hope I am as physically fit when I become a senior citizen, though I’m not sure I’ll ever be as good at bowling. I would like to extend a special thank you to my staff who organized this event along with Janell Rattler with EBCI Recreation Department.
I hope each of you saw my ad in the Cherokee One Feather regarding my bid for the Office of the Principal Chief in the upcoming election. I am excited and eager to hear your thoughts, concerns and questions regarding the issues facing the Eastern Band. I invite you to call my office at (828) 359-7002 to schedule a meeting with me so we may discuss your issues.
Sgi! And God Bless!