By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Tribal Council tackled an agenda of 14 items, on topics ranging from agriculture to enrollment in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), during its Budget Council session on the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 4.
Officials from the University of North Carolina at Asheville submitted legislation, Res. No. 226 (2020), acknowledging that the land the university is built on is historically Cherokee. The legislation passed unanimously and was read into the record by EBCI Beloved Woman Myrtle Driver.
“The University of North Carolina at Asheville acknowledges, with respect, that the land we are on today is ancestral land of the Anikituwagi, more commonly known as the Cherokee,” the resolution states. “We recognize the Cherokee as the native people and original stewards of this land. To the Anikituwagi, this land was known as Togiyasdi, Where they Race…”
The resolution continues, “We acknowledge that an act of recognition is not enough to overcome the settler-colonial history that has attempted to eradicate Indigenous people from the history and consciousness of these lands. The Eastern Band of Cherokee and UNC Asheville seek to affirm our work together to ensure a strong relationship rooted in relevancy, responsibility, respect, and reciprocity.”
UNC Asheville Chancellor Dr. Nancy J. Cable, addressed Council, “We are partners and have been, and over the many years that the Cherokee suffered at the hands of settlers and European influence, I want you all to know that the University of North Carolina Asheville is deeply connected to bringing that history alive always – not just for our Cherokee students who are always welcome on our campus, but for all of our other students. We are deeply committed to growing the already strong program on the campus to include more Native students and also to keep the language alive and flourishing…”
Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed commented that around 20 EBCI students are currently attending the university. “There’s a real sense of community at UNCA. It’s a great fit for our students.”
Watson Harlan, an EBCI tribal member and UNCA alumni, helped to present the legislation.
Council voted unanimously to kill a resolution, submitted by a Texas man who was recently enrolled with the Tribe after having been adopted as an infant. Brandon Brake submitted Res. No. 222 (2020) whereby he requested “financial assistance from the Tribe to recover past per-capita distributions he missed due to being unaware of the Tribe and not yet being enrolled”.
Information in the resolution stated that Brake was adopted in Long Island, N.Y. in 1972 and “has attempted for years to locate his biological parents, but was unable to do so until 2020”. Brake, along with his 16-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter were all subsequently enrolled with the Tribe.
Cherokee Code Section 16C-4(e) was referenced in the denial of Brake’s resolution and covers people who were enrolled as infants and subsequently adopted out of the Tribe. Brake does not fit that criteria.
Vice Chairman David Wolfe made the motion to kill the resolution and noted, “(Section) 16C is pretty specific on the process, and I don’t think he’s going to qualify being enrolled as an adult and not as a minor. I hate that for him, but I’d like to welcome him to the Tribe and his membership to the Tribe. Any future benefits, he certainly would be entitled to. I don’t think the resolution is in line with the ordinance.”
During the session, Council also approved appointments to Boards including the re-appointment of Stacy Leeds to the Kituwah Economic Development Board and the appointment of Manuel Hernandez to the Atlanta Braves Cultural Advisory Committee.
Council also approved grant submission requests from several programs.
Res. No. 220 (2020), submitted by EBCI Grants Compliance on behalf of the EBCI Natural Resources Program, was passed unanimously and allows the Natural Resources Program to apply and accept grant funding to purchase a walk-behind cultivator known as a power ox. The $5,000 grant would be from Farm Credit Carolina and does not require any in-kind monies nor grant match.
“…in purchasing this equipment, our staff will be able to expand our plant offerings while reducing our chemical input into the environment,” the resolution states. “This project will have an impact on the EBCI, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, and the Cherokee Nation seed bank collaboration.”
Res. No. 221 (2020), submitted by EBCI Grants Compliance on behalf of the Dora Reed Children’s Center, Big Cove Children’s Center, and the Qualla Boundary Head Start and Early Head Start, was passed unanimously and allows those programs to apply and accept grant funding from the state for nutritional meals and snacks. The $234,566 in grant funds would come from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
The resolution states, “…the Dora Reed Children’s Center, Big Cove Children’s Center, and QBHS/EHS program agrees to continue to provide required training with staff covering menu planning, nutrition planning, purchasing, record keeping, filing for claims and reimbursements, meal patterns and counts, civil rights, and monitoring as well as assurance that none of the responsible principles, providers, and facilities are on the National Disqualified List…”