For many centuries, the Cherokee have practiced a traditional lifeway known as Ga-Du-Gi (helping the community). Community members in need of help often receive assistance without a request from other tribal members. This assistance may include tending a garden, fixing a roof, yard clean up, etc.
The Cherokee Day of Caring is a daylong community event that reflects the spirit of Ga-Du-Gi and was held this year on Thursday, May 16. Approximately 330 Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) members and community members volunteered by assisting nine families or individuals in particular need that were nominated by their respective community clubs.
The Cherokee Preservation Foundation, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, and the Office of the Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, collaboratively sponsored this 15th annual event.
The Cherokee Day of Caring Committee also honored nine “Quiet Heroes” who have served their communities unselfishly and presented a “Good Neighbor” Award to a nontribal member who significantly helped members of the EBCI.
“We are proud to celebrate the 15h annual Cherokee Day of Caring event, because it epitomizes this community’s giving spirit and compassion for one another,” said Cherokee Preservation Foundation Executive Director Bobby Raines.
Day of Caring Projects included:
Towstring – Melanie Hyatt
Big Cove – Carolyn Panther
Yellowhill – Lloyd Arneach Sr.
Painttown – Jasper Queen
Big Y – Wynn Jones
Wolftown – Maggie Armachain
Birdtown – Ed Walkingstick
Snowbird – Cindy Wachacha
Cherokee County – Nancy Plemmons
Overflow Volunteer Project: Food Pantries (Wolftown and Birdtown)
The Quiet Heroes & Good Neighbor Awards went to:
Towstring – Ancil Crutchfield
Big Cove – Eddie Hill
Yellowhill – Frella Owle Beck
Painttown – Johnny George
Big Y – Warren “Junior” Crowe Jr.
Wolftown – Wilson Oocumma
Birdtown – Lloyd Leslie Ledford
Snowbird – Ryen Bird
Cherokee County – Johnny Robinson
Good Neighbor – Paul Wojtkowski (the Good Neighbor is a non-EBCI tribal member who gives of themselves unselfishly to benefit the entire Tribe)
– Cherokee Preservation Foundation release