2023 EBCI Census results are here

by Jun 17, 2024NEWS ka-no-he-da0 comments


One Feather Intern


CHEROKEE, N.C. – Dinilawigi (Tribal Council) heard the results of the EBCI (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians 2023 census at the Wednesday, June 5 Reports to Council. READ THE FULL REPORT

Anita Lossiah, director of EBCI Public Health and Human Services, presented the results. Lossiah, who oversaw the project, told council she was very happy with the participation rate they saw. Of the 11,513 enrolled adults, 6,437 members competed the census for a 56 percent participation rate.

The census was administered online last year, and came with a $100 incentive to those who participated.

Res. No. 470 (2022) was submitted by former Ugvwiyuhi (Principal Chief) Richard Sneed and passed by Dinilawigi on Dec 8, 2022. The resolution sought compliance with the EBCI Code of Ordinances section 117-12. The ordinance dictates that a census should be completed every 10 years in order to provide weighted value to the vote of each council member proportionate to the population in their community. This means that the more tribal members a council seat represents, the more voting power it should possess. The 2023 census is the first to be completed since 2001.

The current weights of each council seat are as follows: Kolanvyi (Big Cove) 7.0, Aniwodihi (Painttown) 6.0, Graham/Tsalagi Gadugi (Cherokee County) 6.0, Wayohi (Wolftown) 12.0, Elawodi (Yellowhill) 7.0, and Tsisqwohi (Birdtown) 12.0.

The census report included participants’ townships, but data sets did not distinguish between residence and voting district. “Off EBCI Trust Land – No Response” made up the largest data grouping with 39.35 percent, followed by Tsisqwohi (Birdtown) with 16.96 percent, Wayohi (Wolftown) 15.97 percent, Aniwodihi (Painttown) 8.84 percent, Kolanvyi (Big Cove) 7.44 percent, Elawodi (Yellowhill) 7.19 percent, and Tsalagi Gadugi (Cherokee Co.) and Graham County 4.24 percent.

It is unclear from the work session discussion if the weighed vote will be impacted by the census which was the initial purpose of doing the census.  Public relations officers were contacted for both Dinilawigi and the Office of Ugvwiyuhi (Principal Chief) Michelle Hicks for comment on whether any action would be taken in regards to the new census. Neither responded by press time.

Aside from complying with EBCI Code of Ordinances, the census also served to collect health, safety, and cultural data about tribal members. Other questions included whether the person had access to fruits and vegetables, whether they felt safe in their home, and their level of Cherokee language proficiency.