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When Ed Sutton first came to Cherokee in November to break ground on a new trail system, his directive was clear. 

“We told him his marching orders were just make it great. Make it awesome,” said Jeremy Hyatt, Secretary of Administration for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Three seats will be up for grabs in Cherokee’s 2017 Tribal Council elections, with incumbent councilmembers from Big Cove, Snowbird and Yellowhill not signing up to run for re-election as of the March 15 filing deadline.

Shirley Oswalt (pictured above, left, with sister Geraldine Thompson) was named a Beloved Woman of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians on Tuesday, Feb. 2, the highest honor that can be given to a Cherokee woman and one that’s held by only two other living people.

Shirley Jackson Oswalt can still remember the first words she said in English. 

Her older siblings had prepped her before she headed off to her first day of first grade at the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Snowbird Day School in Robbinsville, and when the teacher came over to greet her, Oswalt knew her line.

A petition drive is underway in Cherokee aiming to place term limits on Tribal Council members and give tribal members the right to recall elected officials.

Some tribal members are saying their rights were violated after three pieces of legislation that would curtail impeachment proceedings against Principal Chief Patrick Lambert were denied last week in successive votes during which no discussion was allowed.

Principal Chief Patrick Lambert has issued a veto against Tribal Council’s Feb. 2 resolution to begin impeachment proceedings against him.

Opponents of Principal Chief Patrick Lambert are crying foul over a $5.6 million contract between the Tribal Casino Gaming Enterprise and the Cherokee Grand Hotel — which Lambert and his wife own — saying that its existence violates tribal ethics laws.

A newly approved expansion project at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort was nearly derailed when a resolution to kill the project was narrowly rejected in Tribal Council this month, with the final vote an even 50-50.

A team of 26 FBI agents descended on Cherokee Feb. 2, filling the Qualla Housing Authority building and wheeling entire filing cabinets, as well as papers and hard drives, into a U-Haul parked to the side of the building.

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