Eastern Cherokees lose leader with death of Leon Jones

Leon Jones, a former principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, died Friday, December 30, after a long bout with cancer. He was 69.

Jones, a Vietnam veteran, served as chief from 1999 to 2003, as the tribe expanded its casino business, started cultural and other initiatives and secured the return of ancestral land. Jones also sat on the tribal council and was a tribal court judge and school board chairman.

"During his time on this planet, Leon Jones helped straighten out the misconceptions about the Cherokee, and helped lay the foundation for the education of future generations," The Asheville Citizen-Times said in an editorial.

Get the Story:
Beloved Cherokee elder and leader dies (The Asheville Citizen-Times 12/31)
Editorial: Leon Jones' accomplishments for his Cherokee people were many (The Asheville Citizen-Times 1/4)

Relevant Links:
Eastern Band of Cherokee -