Cherokee Preservation Foundation places special emphasis on initiatives that teach young people critical skills and involve them in developing solutions to regional problems.
The Foundation helped establish the Cherokee Youth Council to give young enrolled members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians the opportunity to make their voices heard on issues that are important to them, serve their community and develop their leadership skills. When young people in the region learned about the success of the Cherokee Youth Council and expressed interest in participating in similar organizations, the Foundation made grants that supported the creation of youth councils in Swain, Graham, Macon and Jackson counties.
When Jackson County Commissioners convened public meetings to help develop land preservation strategies and clarify development opportunities along the Highway 441 corridor between U.S. 74 and Cherokee’s business district, the Foundation funded a component of the project that enabled area middle and high school students to give their opinions and learn how communities get built through a mix of collaboration, physical limitations and regulation.
And Cherokee Preservation Foundation has made the eco-study tour program in Costa Rica it initially developed for tribal youth available to other young people in the region as well. The trips involve cross-cultural experiences such as visits to indigenous communities in Costa Rica, and the exchanges expand the horizons of young people and deepen their appreciation for their own culture.
Cherokee Preservation Foundation will continue to help develop collaborations between the EBCI and our neighbors in the region to address mutual opportunities and concerns.