CHEROKEE, N.C., July 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Michell Hicks, Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, today called passage of a bill allowing the Cherokee language to satisfy foreign language requirements by UNC system students an important step in helping "preserve and promote our native language."
Thanking the bill's sponsors and legislative leaders for their support of the measure, Chief Hicks added: "It is a proud day when North Carolina again leads the way in helping strengthen our collective heritage in this important way."
Hicks' complete statement, for attribution, follows:
STATEMENT FROM PRINCIPAL CHIEF MICHELL HICKS
On behalf of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, I applaud the North Carolina General Assembly's passage of the new state law that permits students to use the Cherokee language to satisfy a "foreign" language requirement for institutions of the UNC system.
I would like to thank House Speaker Rep. Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger for their support and extend special thanks to Senators Andrew Brock and Jim Davis for sponsoring this very important legislation that makes great strides in helping the Eastern Band preserve and promote our native language. I also want to thank the members of the western North Carolina legislative delegation for their support.
For many years now, we in the Eastern Band have been pursuing renewal of the Cherokee language in our schools on the Qualla Boundary and in colleges and universities in the western region. We have a school in Cherokee in which our children beginning in pre-school can become totally immersed in learning our language and we have year-round programs on the Boundary in which children and adults can again become fluent in Cherokee. We are equally proud of programs, which we actively support, such as those at Western Carolina University where teachers of Cherokee are being educated.
It is a proud day when North Carolina again leads the way in helping strengthen our collective cultural heritage in this important way.
SOURCE Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians