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fr broadbandScanty wireless networks, outdated computer equipment, slow servers — technological woes have been a centerpiece of discussion at Cherokee Tribal Council meetings for quite some time. After months of introducing resolutions only to table them and hours-long meetings with finance, technology and broadband leaders, Council this month took action on a slate of legislation designed to give some direction to the technology overhaul and designate funds with which to do it. 

fr murphycasinoWhen the Tribal Casino Gaming Enterprise board opted to get rid of the project manager position for its Murphy casino construction project last year, some skepticism ensued as to whether the project could still continue on time and within budget.

Cherokee is one step closer to having an Olympic-sized outdoor pool following Tribal Council’s unanimous vote this month to purchase property for the project.

“We have an identified site with contract negotiations with those landowners,” said Jason Lambert, director of planning and development for the tribe. With the site nailed down, he said, “we can get into more specific due diligence and more specific planning in order to get to that hard construction.”

fr cherokeefireA blaze in Cherokee has been fully contained, but not before burning up 400 acres of forest in the Qualla Boundary. 

“It was more than likely arson,” said James Condon, fire management officer for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Cherokee. “There was no lightning strikes in the area and there was no brush being burned.”

mtnvoices“Two or more Families join together in building a hot-house, about 30 feet Diameter, and 15 feet high, in form of a Cone, with Poles and thatched, without any air-hole, except a small door about 3 feet high and 18 Inches wide. In the Center of the hot-house they burn fire of well-seasoned dry-wood; round the inside are bedsteads sized to the studs, which support the middle of each post; these Houses they resort to with their children in the Winter Nights.”

— John DeBrahm, “Report of the General Survey in the Southern District of North America,” ed. Louis de Vorsey, Jr., (Univ. of South Carolina Press, 1971)

fr broadbandIt’s been more than eight years since the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians made its first move toward creating a business to bring Internet to the Qualla Boundary, but the issue has proven a good bit more complicated than first expected.

Cherokee will institute a two-week fishing season closure each March beginning in 2016 after operating under a year-round season since 2011. 

“We decided to open it up to year-round just to provide more fishing opportunities during March when the state fishing waters were closed, but we decided to go back to a compromise with a two-week closure in March to allow our operations to catch up for the opening day and allow a new level of excitement for the opener, knowing the waters haven’t been fished for two weeks,” explained Mike Lavoie, fisheries and wildlife program manager for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Same-sex marriage may be legal in the state of North Carolina, but it’s not on the Qualla Boundary, according to a resolution recently passed by Cherokee Tribal Council. 

Though tribal code already defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, the newly adopted resolution further specifies that the “licensing and solemnizing” of same-sex marriage cannot happen on tribal land.

fr cherokeejusticeIt’s not every day that the scent of barbecue meatballs wafts through the open doors of a jail filled with smiling people wearing slacks, sport coats and blouses. But it’s also not every day that a sovereign nation finishes building its first-ever justice facility. 

“This is not just about a building,” said Principle Chief Michell Hicks as he prepared to cut the ribbon on the $26-million building in a ceremony that had nearly all of the building’s 175 parking spaces full. “It’s not just about having a place to put our stuff. We’re going to change who we are as a people.” 

Plans to memorialize a Cherokee gravesite found earlier this year in the midst of construction for a new baseball tournament complex in Macon County now have some hard costs attached to them, and the county has requested funding from the Cherokee Preservation Foundation to make them happen. 

 “It was well received,” Commissioner Ronnie Beale said of the request, which he brought to the foundation’s director, Annette Clapsaddle, earlier this month.

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