The Right Path, “Du-yu dv-i,” program provides unique leadership learning that tailors contemporary leadership development competencies from the wisdom of Cherokee ancestral cultural leadership. Right Path serves members of the Cherokee tribes of the Eastern Band, Cherokee Nation, and United Kituwah Band. The 12-month program works to bridge the past and present by incorporating programming that includes Cherokee language lessons, and introduction to cultural lifeways such as Cherokee clan customs, field trips to identify native plants, and visits to sacred sites like Kituwah and Cowee mounds. Curriculum includes use of the contemporary personality assessment tools.
Participants are selected through a nomination process, final selection is determined by the Right Path Advisory Council which is made up of community professionals and Right Path alumni. Participants’ employers support their attendance for two days each month, for 12 months. There are 20 alumni.
Coulter Regional Leadership Program was established in honor of Dr. Myron Coulter, Chancellor Emeritis at WCU, and Board Chair of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation. The purpose of the Coulter program is to connect people from the EBCI with their rural neighbors to together address challenges and pursue opportunities to benefit the region.
The program pilot began on October 23, 2013, with a three-day retreat on the campus of Western Carolina University (WCU). The cohort represents Haywood, Jackson, Swain, Clay, Graham counties and the Qualla Boundary. Like the Right Path program, Coulter curriculum is focused on producing, “selfless leaders.”
Right Path and Coulter Regional leadership programs were created by the Cherokee Preservation Foundation and are being administered through Western Carolina University, Education Outreach Division.