Lynne Harlan: Cherokee children reach for the stars
"This week, the Tribal Council of the Eastern Band of Cherokee presented awards to Cherokee schoolchildren throughout the region. As I listened to the stories written by the children and their families when they were introduced, it struck me that nearly every child planned on furthering their education. Even the kindergarten children had big dreams of colleges and careers.

For nearly two centuries Cherokee leaders have valued education. In the early days of contact, Cherokee leaders sought religious groups to come into the Cherokee Nation and build schools. As those religious groups established themselves they often focused on proselytizing rather than on education. When the goal of those religious groups changed, our leaders invited them to leave and replaced them with another group with the purpose of education.

That focus on education is not unique to our people. Native leaders throughout the country have worked tirelessly to provide educational opportunities for our communities. Our people have made great strides toward empowering our communities through education. We now have educated individuals who work for our people and in our communities, and that dedication is influencing our youth."

Get the Story:
Lynne Harlan: Tribe’s children reaching for stars like never before (The Asheville Citizen-Times 5/8)

Related Stories:
Lynne Harlan: Cherokees defend cultural rights (4/10)
Lynne Harlan: Women in Cherokee society (3/27)