Lynne Harlan: Eastern Cherokees shape future
"This new year will bring significant changes to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Several long projects will come to fruition and their changes will affect generations of our people.

This year, the Cherokee Central School System will say farewell to aging buildings as it moves to the new multimillion dollar facility on Ravensford. You may remember the long struggle of our tribe to negotiate a land exchange with the National Park Service to accommodate the construction of the new facility. This facility, designed by Padgett & Freeman Architecture of Asheville, incorporates a green design and traditional symbolism and aesthetics. The new school incorporates the natural world with Cherokee plant landscaping, nature trails and views of the environment from all classrooms. Our children will benefit from the natural lighting environments, clean indoor air quality and outdoor classroom spaces. The school also has spectacular athletic facilities including several gymnasiums, an Indian ball field and a football field which has already incorporated the Sequoyah Syllabary. The school has a state of the art performing arts center so music and theater programs can be expanded.

The new school is also different because it marks the first time our people have been instrumental in determining the way our children will be educated. Previous educational systems were designed, developed and implemented by outsiders. Basically, we had to take what we could get. This year, we can claim education as our own."

Get the Story:
Tribe is shaping its future through several exciting projects (The Asheville Citizen-Times 1/30)

Related Stories:
Lynne Harlan: The 'real American Indians' (10/24)