News Column

Senator Hagan Visits Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Tours Birdtown Community Center

August 7, 2014

WASHINGTON, Aug. 7 -- The office of Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., issued the following news release:

U.S. Senator Kay Hagan visited the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation yesterday, meeting with Chief Michell Hicks, Vice Chief Larry Blythe and members of the Tribal Council to receive an update on the reservation and discuss her advocacy on behalf of Western North Carolina in the U.S. Senate.

"I am so honored to have the opportunity to visit Cherokee today, a place so deeply tied into the history and fabric of our state. Cherokee continues to be a vital part of our tourism economy in North Carolina. Every year, people from all over come to visit the unique cultural and historic sites of the western North Carolina mountains, whose beauty is unmatched anywhere in the world," said Senator Hagan.

Hagan, who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Children & Families, also toured the Birdtown Recreation Center and visited with local children. Hagan is cosponsoring legislation to address the unique challenges faced by Native children. The Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act would establish a commission within the Office of Tribal Justice of the Department of Justice (DOJ). The bill would require the commission to conduct a comprehensive study of federal, state, local and tribal programs that serve Native children, identify models of successful initiatives, and make recommendations on federal policy to improve the current system by building on the strengths of Native communities.

"An important issue I continue to be focused on in Washington is the alarming rate of poverty and lack of economic opportunities among Native children across the country," added Hagan. "We can and must do better for our kids. That's why I'm cosponsoring legislation to create a Commission on Native Children, which will conduct an intensive study into the issues facing our children and the actions we must take to ensure all our children have a shot at a quality education and economic success."

Last year, Senator Hagan invited Eastern Band of Cherokee Nation Vice Chair Larry Blythe to participate in a meeting hosted by the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee so other Senators could hear directly from the Cherokee community about how Washington can better fulfill America's responsibilities to our tribal nations, properly educate Indian students and foster economic opportunity for businesses on tribal lands.

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Source: Targeted News Service

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