By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
One of the most vocal and involved members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) is Becky Walker – who, for years has attended Tribal Council meetings offering her thoughts, insight, and suggestions on issues affecting the Tribe.
During its regular session on Thursday, July 9, Council passed Tabled Ord. No. 152 (2020), submitted by Walker, which amends Cherokee Code Section 117-16 (c) to read as follows: “Persons in the audience wishing to be recognized will gain recognition from the Tribal Chairman and shall be limited to five minutes of debate or discussion on each resolution, ordinance, or matter under consideration by the Council, unless they are presenting a resolution or ordinance.”
The legislation passed Council unanimously (10-0) by all of those present with Birdtown Reps. Albert Rose and Boyd Owle absent due to coronavirus protocols.
Prior to its passage, Vice Chief Alan B. Ensley offered an amendment, which was accepted and passed unanimously by those present, to name the legislation “Becky’s Law” honoring her previous and continued involvement and work. He noted, “We all represent our communities the best that we know how and giving them the opportunity to come in here and voice their opinion is the only right a lot of them enjoy having.”
Previously, Section 117-16 stated that persons could address Council “through a request of their Council representative or by representation of a resolution or ordinance”.
Walker wrote in her legislation accompanying the ordinance change, “it is the inherent right of the members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to speak on matters of importance”. She added, “…enrolled members have been restricted regarding time and opportunity at the podium as dictated by old and antiquated tribal law.”
Lori Taylor, an EBCI tribal member from the Big Cove Community, spoke highly of Walker saying, “She’s the epitome of someone with a voice and somebody that showed you that voice.”
She spoke of the importance of Walker’s legislation, “All of her work throughout her entire time here was for the people, was to have equality and fairness across the board. If there’s an issue on board, whether its Business Committee, Budget Committee, Lands Committee, the people have a right to know those things and the people have a right to speak on those things because it pertains to them.”