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News and Updates
Catalpa social broadband initiative
Solutions to the broadband crisis in rural America are seen as technical or out of reach for local communities. The problem however is social rather than technical, and requires community organizing and education to mobilize local political leadership and discover overlooked neighborhood assets first. Tim Will’s article on the Foothills Connect model and social broadband appeared in the National Broadband Communities Magazine December issue. Tim addressed the Broadband Communities convention in Austin, TX in May.
Culturally important plant initiative with Southern Appalachian Man and Biosphere Program
Catalpa Partner Tom Hatley has helped promote and develop an innovative dialogue between tribal and agency personnel around issues of the management and supply of plants in the Southern Appalachians. The SAMAB program leadership, which has adopted this program as one of their top three agenda items for the year, visited Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians in June, meeting community members and employees involved in projects such as ramp and herb studies and the restoration of plants like river cane. Work is underway on a charter emphasizing the primacy of Cherokee Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK).
Nikwasi Initiative enters first year Of landscape restoration and community redevelopment
Over the past four years, Maggie Clancy and Tom Hatley (together early on with Kiowa consultant Billy Rogers) designed a conflict resolution strategy and convened the historic, reconciliation focused, Mountain Partners group. Under Clancy’s leadership, the Nikwasi Initiative is moving forward. Drawing from the historically estranged neighboring communities of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Macon County, NC, the group is advancing and guiding land conservation and community based economic development, and bolstering initiatives along the 60 mile corridor, once the Cherokee heartland. The Initiative aims to support existing efforts, such as the Macon County Arts and Heritage Center at Cowee School, and others in the visualization stage, such as a tribally run eagle aviary.
Bicultural signage for the first time in North Carolina’s Indian Country
Under the Nikwasi Initiative leadership, facilitated by Catalpa Partners, three new gateway signs will be installed in Cherokee, Cowee Valley, and at Nikwasi (now downtown Franklin NC). Breaking with 200 years of silence, sign text will be in both Cherokee syllabary - the writing system developed by Sequoyah - and English. A team of Cherokee elders and speakers led by TJ Holland, the Eastern Band’s Cultural Supervisor, and the staff of the language revitalization program are undertaking the difficult task of telling place-based stories. Produced with the help of Carolyn Ward of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, and graphic artist David Williams, the signs will be installed by early fall.