Snowbird Cherokees, Part 7 - Politics


This segment reveals some of the political issues that face the Cherokees.

There are very few traditional people in the county. Many have been isolated from the reservation because they have moved away from the reservation for work or education, and they are resented by the traditional people because they have not kept close ties with the tribe. One traditional member of the tribe expresses that the "white people" claim to be Indian, instead of being Indian, and say they should help the Indian people, work with the Indian people and help them out, not cheating the full-blooded Indian people.

There has been an understanding that if you marry an Indian, you'll get a free house, free medical services, a monthly check, and so on. The elderly have believed that the government will take care of you. But that has created a dependency, and there is now an understanding among the community that we have to take care of our own, buy health insurance, life and burial insurance, and that the days of being taken care of are no longer.

During elections, there is tension between the traditional Indians and the "white Indians" but some try to represent both communities. 

Getting the gaming compact signed in North Carolina is a big issue because that would bring more jobs and more services.