By PRINCIPAL CHIEF
RICHARD G. SNEED
I consider it an honor to serve as Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI). I am privileged to work on numerous projects and initiatives aimed at advancing the EBCI’s interests locally and nationally. I am happy to provide a few updates regarding these projects.
The advancement of the EBCI’s interests in commercial gaming is ever at the forefront of my mind. The EBCI Tribal Council has approved a few measures that have moved the EBCI forward on this effort and we continue to work in collaboration to ensure this venture works for the betterment of our tribe. I will continue to keep the EBCI community apprised of successes on this front and look forward to sharing more good news soon.
Many local municipalities are interested in learning about the many projects the EBCI is engaged with. I had the pleasure of presenting to the Macon County Rotary Club concerning EBCI initiatives, projects, and future planning efforts. The EBCI plays a critical role in the economy and culture in Western North Carolina. I am happy to work with local officials, nonprofits, and regional leaders to continue to build partnerships so we may all move this region forward together.
The North Carolina Emergency Management Department invited the EBCI to participate in their annual conference to discuss the Cyber Attack that took place in December 2019. Bill Travitz, the EBCI director of Information Technology proudly represented the EBCI to discuss how the immediate work of the IT department saved tribal programs from losing all data. I am continually impressed with the EBCI IT department and applaud their efforts to serve tribal employees.
The IT Department has been working diligently to increase access to broadband internet across the Qualla Boundary. IT staff are completing the final steps in implementing the Snowbird Outdoor Directional Antenna System (ODAS) bringing cellular service to the Snowbird area. This project will provide cellular service via Verizon Wireless at 4G LTE speeds. They are also preparing to take over the Snowbird Fiber to the Home (FTTH) project from the contractor this coming week and will begin adding subscribers to the system. Please contact Cherokee Broadband for additional information about how to sign up for this service. Both projects will deliver high speed internet to tribal citizens as well as voice coverage that did not exist previously.
Finally, I hope everyone is aware of the EBCI’s newest COVID-19 Assistance Program for adults. Any EBCI tribal citizen may apply for this $2,000 benefit regardless of residency or income. My staff have been already assisted hundreds of tribal citizens in applying for this program and they are willing to help you as well. Please call 359-7002 to request assistance.