By RICHARD G. SNEED
There is a great deal of responsibility that is associated with the position of Principal Chief. This responsibility ranges from ensuring enrolled members are treated fair and equitably, to ensuring the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) budget is fiscally responsible, and ensuring the EBCI is protected from damaging legislation in North Carolina and in Washington, DC.
We finished out the Month of April with the celebration of Easter. The Office of the Principal Chief, Office of the Vice Chief, and EBCI Tribal Council came together to provide Easter cards for our Cherokee seniors. We all had a great time delivering the cards and visiting with seniors. I had an especially good time attending the Snowbird Health Fair to distribute cards. I would like to thank the many programs that made this project successful including my office staff, the Vice Chief’s staff, Tribal Operations Program, Facility Management, Emergency Management, Public Safety and the Cherokee Department of Transportation. I also had the pleasure of visiting Tsali Care Center to distribute gift bags to those residents for Easter.
The Cherokee Youth Council invited me to speak to their students Wednesday, April 24 about my role as Principal Chief. It was a pleasure speaking with these students about my daily activities and my plans for the future of the EBCI. We’ve been able to get many things accomplished these past two years and it was a pleasure sharing those victories with these students. I was impressed by the wisdom, professionalism, and intelligence demonstrated by these youth and I am excited to see the leaders they become.
I was happy to attend the Crisis Stabilization Unit Groundbreaking at the Cherokee Indian Hospital on April 24. The Crisis Stabilization Unit will help patients entering the Emergency Room going through withdrawal. While these patients previously had to stay in the Emergency Room while a permanent solution could be found these patients will now be directed to the Crisis Stabilization Unit. This change will allow them to get the personalized care they need to begin the road to recovery. While I regret our community needs this facility, I feel blessed we have the opportunity to provide this service to our enrolled members.
The University of North Carolina Asheville has honored the special relationship they share with the EBCI by naming a room after the tribe in their Highsmith Student Union. Tokiyasdi, meaning the place where they race, will be a space where our Cherokee students can share fellowship and receive support from their peers at UNC-A. I consider it an honor to represent the EBCI at events such as this, giving us the opportunity to support our Cherokee students as they face the challenges associated with earning higher education degrees.
I consider it an honor to represent each of you while attending these events. If you have questions regarding the issues we face as a tribe I am happy to speak with you. Please contact my office at 828-359-7002 to schedule a meeting to discuss the issues important to you.