Column: Effort to save birthplace of Cherokee people succeeds
"In this business of covering the news, we often bear witness as apathy wins the day. Citizens sit back and let elected leaders, powerful corporations or a boisterous minority get their way without putting up a fight.

That’s why the conclusion to the Duke-Kituwah standoff is so refreshing. It’s not so important that one side lost and the other won — although the decision to move the electrical substation does stand as a victory for opponents. But it was the effort by the citizens group and their zeal that should be remembered and emulated.

The electrical substation was slated to be built within sight of Kituwah, the location of the mother town of the Cherokee that is considered a sacred site by the tribe. As soon as plans became public, members of the tribe and nearby citizens raised a storm of protest. They began lobbying Cherokee tribal officials and Swain County officials to stop the utility’s plans.

As the controversy swirled, Duke held to its opinion that the entire project was necessary in order to benefit the tribe. The irony here was hard to miss — the substation would benefit Harrah’s expansion and thereby tribal coffers that rely on the casino, but would mar a sacred site central to the identity of the tribe.

Chief Michell Hicks and tribal officials took a firm stand. Early in the controversy Hicks had this to say of the proposed substation site and Duke’s communications with the tribe.

“The bottom line is it’s a disrespect to our tribe and a disrespect to the people of Swain County,” said Hicks."

Get the Story:
Scott McLeod: A refreshing victory for what started as a grassroots effort (The Smoky Mountain News 8/11)

Related Stories:
Editorial: Good move by Duke Energy to save Cherokee sacred site (8/4)
Duke Energy drops plans for development at Cherokee sacred site (8/3)
Column: Cherokees haven't forgotten pull of Kituwah birthplace (7/12)
Duke Energy in talks to stop development near Cherokee site (6/9)
Duke Energy wants to restart work by Cherokee birthplace (5/12)
Petition forces decision on project by Cherokee sacred site (4/6)
Petition takes aim at development by Cherokee birthplace (4/1)
County delays development near Cherokee sacred site (03/16)
Cherokee tribes discuss sacred site with company (2/19)
Editorial: Don't put electrical station near sacred site (2/16)
Eastern Cherokees oppose building near site (2/11)