Joe Martin: Open discussion at Eastern Cherokee
"Some members of the Snowbird Community took heat over the invitation of Carl Mumpower, the Republican congressional nominee challenging incumbent Rep. Heath Shuler, to speak to their community club meeting Aug. 5. Mumpower had made controversial statements in response to tribal leadership’s failure to comply with campaign finance disclosure laws. Last October, Mumpower in a statement said, “Recent unreported campaign contributions to politicians highlight a continuing effort to maintain an unlevel playing field in Cherokee. The tribe draws dramatic government funds and benefits while they simultaneously reap the dubious handouts of a tribal gambling enterprise. I question the value of government sponsored gambling of any type — this one creates a country within a country. Cherokee is a special interest turning into a selfish interest that, in the midst of all the other ‘me’ interests, is eroding our common interests.”

No doubt there were members of the audience in Snowbird who weren’t happy with Mumpower’s remarks.

While it’s not certain whether Mumpower won anyone over at that meeting, the Snowbird Community Club deserves credit for inviting him. Having an open and honest exchange of ideas is a good thing. Mumpower knew good and well he was entering into a potentially hostile environment, and he has expressed that he has no ill will toward the Cherokee people. The way he worded his statement, however, is on what many have chosen to focus. The fact he was willing to explain those remarks says a lot. The Snowbird Community has trouble getting the tribe’s own officials to do that."

Get the Story:
Joe Martin: Honest, open debate within tribe is healthy (The Asheville Citizen-Times 8/14)

Related Stories:
Joe Martin: Unity elusive at Eastern Cherokee (6/12)
Opinion: Eastern Cherokees should vote on WalMart (5/29)
Opinion: Cherokee community deserves a voice (5/15)
Joe Martin: Tribal jurisdiction over non-Indians (5/1)

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