A home of hope: Men’s Residential Support Home opens officially

by Jun 13, 2023Health, NEWS ka-no-he-da0 comments


One Feather Asst. Editor


CHEROKEE, N.C. – Men of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) will now have a place to come back to on the Qualla Boundary once they leave substance abuse treatment.  The Men’s Residential Support Home opened in the Yellowhill Community in Cherokee, N.C. on the afternoon of Monday, June 12.

Leaders of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) gather for the ribbon-cutting for the Men’s Residential Support Home, located at 197 Children’s Home Loop in Cherokee, N.C. on the afternoon of Monday, June 12. The facility is for EBCI men in recovery and is part of the Cherokee Indian Hospital Recovery Continuum. Shown, left to right, are Birdtown Rep. Boyd Owle, Yellowhill Rep. David Wolfe, Yellowhill Rep. T.W. Saunooke, Painttown Rep. Dike Sneed, Vice Chief Alan B. Ensley, Tribal Council Chairman Richard French, Tribal Council Vice Chairman Albert Rose, Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed, and Wolftown Rep. Andrew Oocumma. (SCOTT MCKIE B.P./One Feather photo)

The two-story building can support up to eight men with two of those being able to have children up to 8-years-old.  It is recommended that the men stay in the Home for six to 12 months.

Cody Brady, an EBCI tribal member and CIHA employee, spoke about her experiences in recovery and in the EBCI Women’s Home which opened in 2021.  “Most importantly, it saved my life.  Staying there, I learned how to live life again without drugs and alcohol and how to become responsible and be a productive member of society again.  I was given day passes while there to try to re-build relationships with my family, my son, things I’d destroyed along the way.  I was given room to grow.  I given room to make mistakes and fall back.  Most of all, I was given the support and love that I needed.”

Casey Cooper, CIHA chief executive officer, thanked the EBCI tribal leadership for their continued support of the recovery continuum. “It’s a really, really wonderful thing that the leadership of this Tribe has done for its people.”

“This $2 million facility is absolutely beautiful and stunning, and hopefully this is going to provide exactly the inspiring, nurturing environment that our men need to come back home to regain their self-esteem and their dignity and their strength and be warriors for their family and their communities.”

The building was designed by McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, and construction was completed by Robins & Morton.

Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed commented, “I’ve been in recovery.  I went to rehab for the first time when I was 14-years-old, and then I went again when I was 22-years-old.  I know what it is to stray from the right path.  You lose yourself.  You lose your identity.  You lose your spirit.  You lose your soul.  Addiction will cause you to do things you never imagined that you could do – to hurt people that you never, ever intended nor ever dreamed that you would hurt.”

“One thing you’ll notice in this community is when someone is suffering, when a family is suffering, our people rally.  We rally around them.  We make sure that no one gets left behind and no one gets cast aside.  It’s really amazing to see the continuum of care we have here at the Eastern Band.”

Prior to the ribbon-cutting for the Men’s Residential Support Home for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) on the afternoon of Monday, June 12, the Warriors of Anikituhwa led the Cherokee Friendship Dance. Shown dancing, left to right, are Freida Saylor, Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority director of behavioral health; Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed; EBCI First Lady Colene Sneed; Vice Chief Alan B. Ensley, and Yellowhill Rep. David Wolfe.

Vice Chief Alan B. Ensley said himself and other tribal leaders visited The Healing Center in Raleigh some years ago.  He related that visit inspired the late Painttown Rep. Tommye Saunooke to vigorously pursue treatment options for EBCI tribal members.  “I’m just glad to be a part of all of this and glad to be a part of a community that has the resources to hear what their community needs and act on it.  The Tribal Council, Chief, and myself deal with these issues every day.  People call and say, ‘if I had a place to stay, I may be able to straighten my life out’.  We get these calls on a daily basis.  I’m proud to be here and proud to be a part of it.”

Freida Saylor, CIHA director of behavioral authority, spoke about the success of the Women’s Home and said she’s very happy to see the Men’s Home opening.  “I’ve very honored that we work within a Tribe that can love on some of the most vulnerable members that we have and sometimes that don’t always have the most desirable behaviors.  But, we’re willing to step up and just love on them.”

Tribal Council Chairman Richard French commented, “It’s an honor to be able to open this house today for the men just like it was for the women.  This is another step in their lives.  What we’ve always preached is we want you to get better.  The first step is to admit that you have a problem.  After that, then it’s our time to start taking care of them.  But, you’ve got to keep opening doors and doors and doors…we have to keep assuring them that we’re here for them.”

Yellowhill Rep. David Wolfe, a long-time member of the Health Board, said, “We knew we had to do something…this was a spot that was lacking was having a spot to go after you come through treatment.”

For the first time in a public setting, Yellowhill Rep. T.W. Saunooke spoke about his own experiences in recovery.  “Having a facility like this, I know full-heartedly that this will make a huge, significant difference within our community – to have a safe place to come to, reunite with your kids, have a hot meal, and to just be able to start to rebuild yourself.  This place will make an immense difference.”