Editorial: Cherokees make good use of land
"Nearly two decades ago, Joyce Dugan dreamed of a new school complex for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians on the Ravensford tract.

Last week that dream came true with dedication of the schools.

Dugan, now interim director of Cherokee schools, pushed the program both as principal chief from 1995 to 1999 and as a private citizen.

It proved to be quite a battle, as she told the Smoky Mountain News in 2003:

“We were so naïve back then. We thought we could go to the park and tell them we needed the land for schools and they would lease it to us or give it to us. It was our opinion that the land was already compromised because of the location of the Job Corps.”

Compromised or not, the land was part of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and parkland should be ceded only under exceptional circumstances.

The Eastern Band eventually got the 143-acre tract by giving the National Park Service 218 acres along the Blue Ridge Parkway and agreeing to restrictions on uses other than the schools."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Cherokee school a great use of former parkland (The Asheville Citizen-Times 8/14)

Related Stories:
Eastern Cherokees open new school campus (8/10)
Tribes ride fine line on Interior budget bill (11/6)