Chad Smith: Responding to Cherokee issues
"Thank you for allowing me to respond to some issues with the Cherokee Nation that have recently been of concern to letter writers who have made assertions based on error or lack of facts.

First, the name of Sequoyah Schools has changed only once in the past nine years since I have been principal chief, and that was to drop the word “High” from Sequoyah High School because we offer grades that are not high school.

Second, am I trying to takeover and run W.W. Hastings? No. The staff at Hastings does a good job. We recognize this, and that is why we are offering positions to all of Hastings’ staff. The Cherokee Nation knows about health care. In fact, the Cherokee Nation already operates a much larger health care system than Hastings and employs hundreds of physicians, nurses, dentists and other health care practitioners. And we do it very well.

One writer questions why I care about state proposals to require English-only, when I’m not a fluent Cherokee speaker. This is not about me or my wants. I have seen the disastrous impact on our people and language by the federal requirement of English-only when the [Bureau of Indian Affairs] ran our schools. Our tribal council also unanimously voted to oppose this legislation. We want the opportunity for tribal languages to flourish without the fear of recrimination that has existed in the past."

Get the Story:
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith: Chief speaks on issues (The Tahlequah Daily Press 6/24)

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