By JONAH LOSSIAH
One Feather Staff
Tribal Council passed an amended resolution that will add a memorial garden for Becky Walker and others at the future pavilion location near Kituwah.
Resolution No. 452 (2021) was submitted by several members of the community in honor of Walker, who passed away in July 2020 at the age of 47.
The original concept was to place a memorial garden just after the railroad tracks as you enter into the area around Kituwah. The plot they picked was a 16 by 16-foot parcel in between the railroad and the covered structure, well away from the mound.
Tribal Council Vice Chair David Wolfe said that the decision to allow the garden at that plot was not up to Tribal Council, stating that 150 feet on either side of the tracks is owned by the railroad. It was at this point that Council began to brainstorm different ideas to accommodate the requests made in the resolution.
“One of the ideas that I had as well was back in December, Council had passed on that I had presented. It was to do a peace pavilion like they have out there in Oklahoma on that property,” said Tribal Council Chairperson Adam Wachacha.
“One of the things that I thought might be good is doing a memory garden, I guess in connection with the pavilion. So that when people go enjoy themselves at the pavilion, they also have the memory garden too.”
Birdtown Rep. Boyd Owle was in full agreement with Chairperson Wachacha. He said that making it a place where multiple people could be remembered with markers would be a great asset to all of the communities of Cherokee. Big Cove Rep. Perry Shell, Birdtown Rep. Albert Rose, and Painttown Rep. Tommye Saunooke all voiced their support for this proposal and offered ideas to get this implemented.
Chairperson Wachacha and Vice Chair Wolfe crafted an amendment to the proposed resolution that added, ‘allotment allowed to be used as a memory garden of Mrs. Becky Walker and others to be included in future development.’
Rock Burgess, who was one of submitters, appreciated and supported this idea but still wished to have approval to do something more immediate. She said that their initial plan was to have it ready by Walker’s birthday on July 9. Burgess said that what they would put together would be completely movable, and that it would not require any funding.
Tribal Council gave the submitters a few names to speak at the railroad and the Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO) to get approval for a temporary garden set where they wished.
This resolution was submitted by Rock Burgess, Teresa McCoy, Lori Taylor, Cyndi Lambert, Ashley Sessions, Tina Saunooke, and Brenda Norville.
Tribal Council unanimously passed the amended resolution.