Western Carolina University recently renewed an agreement with Cherokee tribes from North Carolina and Oklahoma in which the university pledges to continue its commitment to the academic study and promotion of Cherokee language, history and culture.
WCU Provost Alison Morrison-Shetlar met with principal chiefs of the Cherokee Tri-Council, consisting of North Carolina’s Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and two Oklahoma-based tribes – the Cherokee Nation and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee, to sign a memorandum of agreement involving those three tribes and Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
The gathering took place during a meeting of the Tri-Council in Oklahoma. In addition to Morrison-Shetlar, representatives included principal chiefs Patrick H. Lambert of the Eastern Band, Bill John Baker of the Cherokee Nation and Joe Bunch of the United Keetoowah Band, along with Northeastern State President Steve Turner.
“Western Carolina University has a longstanding tradition of cooperating with the Eastern Band of Cherokee to work toward the preservation of the tribe’s language, history and culture, and we expect that relationship to only deepen and strengthen over the coming years,” Morrison-Shetlar said. “Not only does that relationship benefit our dear neighbors in Western North Carolina, the Eastern Band, but it also greatly enriches the educational experience of our students as they become involved in these cooperative efforts.”
Among the Cherokee-related initiatives at WCU are the university’s Cherokee Studies Program, which develops and coordinates programs and courses related to Native American and Cherokee studies, and is heavily involved in Cherokee language revitalization efforts. Also, the university’s Cherokee Center seeks to improve educational opportunities for residents of the Qualla Boundary.
For more information, contact WCU’s Office of the Provost at 828-227-7495.
By Randall Holcombe