Dinilawigi (Tribal Council) approves Executive Committee’s Strategic Plan for EBCI

by Mar 28, 2024NEWS ka-no-he-da0 comments


One Feather Asst. Editor


CHEROKEE, N.C. – Leaders of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) are looking four years out in addressing five of the Tribe’s most pressing needs.  Dinilawigi (Tribal Council) approved the 2024-28 Strategic Plan by passing Res. No. 149 (2024), submitted by the EBCI Executive Committee, during a Special-Called Dinilawigi (Tribal Council) session on the morning of Thursday, March 28.

The resolution passed 9-0 with Tsalagi Gadugi (Cherokee County) – Tutiyi (Snowbird) Rep. Adam Wachacha, Aniwodihi (Painttown) Rep. Dike Sneed, and Aniwodihi (Painttown) Rep. Michael Stamper being absent.

Ugvwiyuhi (Principal Chief) Michell Hicks said at the beginning of the meeting, “We’ve been working on a government strategy, strategic plan for awhile.”

He thanked the appointed tribal secretaries for their work on the plan. “I want to thank them for spending a significant amount of time of really helping us to create some bumpers for the future of our Tribe.  We heard this in the political process this past year is how can we do a better job of planning and really creating some priorities that are impactful not only today but for future generations for all of our communities and all of our people.”

I think we have a really good foundation that we work through.”

EBCI Secretary of Education Sky Sampson presented the five priorities outlined in the plan including: ensuring language and cultural preservation, promoting community engagement across the board, growing tribal health and healing, financial security for our future generations, and tribal sovereignty and government.

“So, these are the big priority areas that we feel like we feel like we really need to concentrate on in the next four years and based on feedback from the community as well as the staff for the Tribe.”

I’m really looking forward to what they come up with for our actions and how we’re going to meet these goals.  We’re really excited about this work and hope you guys are too.”

Secretary Sampson also read the vision and mission statement.  “The vision is a nation that honors our culture and traditions while advancing a prosperous and sustainable future.  The mission is to strive for cultural integrity, economic prosperity, a healthy and educated community, and a protected natural environment.”

She related that individual program strategies and action plans to achieve the goals in the Strategic Plan will be developed following upcoming meetings with program managers.

Following are the goals as outlined in the Strategic Plan:

Goal A.1: Align all language and cultural teaching models, evaluations, and reporting by FY2026

Goal A.2: Increase representation of community identity and Cherokee language on all tribal levels by FY2027

Goal A.3: Advance archives and technology usage across the board by FY2027

Goal B.1: Utilize effective communication pathways that engage the community by FY2025.

Goal B.2: The development of the Cherokee experience by FY2028

Goal C.1: Increase the utilization of natural resources by FY2027

Goal C.2: Increase workforce development and education throughout the community by FY2026

Goal C.3: Improve community health infrastructure by FY2028

Goal C.4: Prioritize and address community needs by FY2026

Goal D.1: Increase the utilization of internal and external resources by FY2025

Goal D.2: Create and refine processes for reporting for programs and entities by FY2024

Goal E.1: Build and improve relationships at all levels including state, regional, tribal governments, and federal agencies by FY2028

Dinilawigi (Tribal Council) Chairman Mike Parker thanked Chief Hicks, Taline Ugvwiyu (Vice Chief) Alan B. Ensley, Tribal Council, and staff for their work on the plan. “We haven’t had one of these in a long, long time where all parties were involved with the development of it and agree on all these things.  So, I just want to tell you guys thank you.”

Kolanvyi (Big Cove) Rep. Perry Shell commented, “This has been on many Council in the past, and this one is unique in that we have an experienced Council, you have an experienced executive side of our government as well, but they’re working together. It hasn’t taken place like this I don’t believe in this fluid a manner as it has in this particular term here.”

In speaking of the vision, he noted, “These are all good, noble goals, but to get to this goal there are many steps involved and it involves all our people, not just our tribal government.”

Elawodi (Yellowhill) Rep. Tom Wahnetah, said, “We have four Tribal Council chairmans sitting on this Council, and every one of us have experience sitting here – so does the executive and majority of the team members they have put together have worked with this tribe, and I think the work that we’ve already done this year, people know that Cherokee are still around.”