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~From Chief's Front Porch~ #16 (Dec. 20, 2015)

By: Principle Chief Man Many Trees (Lee Roy Gibson)

Siya members and friends of the OVERHILL NATION of Cherokee Descendants.

The history of the Overhill Cherokee lets us the descendants have some knowledge of how our ancestors lived their lives. How they solved their disharmony when it surfaced in a town, or family, or band. I was taught that when disharmony became a threat to the members of a town, a family, or a band, a council was called and each person who wanted to speak was allowed to do so.

Sometimes a solution that suited everyone could not be reached. The normal procedure was that those who could not agree were to move out of the town or band, go to another area and start a town or community of their own. This did not mean they were enemies with the people who did not go with them. It did not mean they were no longer Cherokee. It was our ancestors way of continuing to be who they were.

Our Cherokee blood is that of strong respect, strong self independence, and strong spirituality. In our history, many time our leaders did not agree on all matters. What did they do? THEY PARTED form each other.

Dragging Canoe left the Chota area and took his followers to what is now Chattanooga or Ross's Landing. His followers became known as the Chickamauga Cherokee. His story can be read in many, many history books.

Disagreements and disharmony arose in the Overhill Nation of Cherokee Descendants immediately after the gathering in September. I am sad that this has happened in the Overhill Nation again. In 25 years we have had 9 situations where other bands were created from unhappy Overhill members. I have not lost friendship with any of these people that have left in the past.

Some of the people I consider my friends and pillars in the Overhill Nation, have decided to leave the Overhill Nation and walk a different path. I have no problem with this in any way. The Overhill Nation has lost some strong leaders and strong members, but these leaders and members will build a strong nation of Overhill Cherokee descendents in their own way. They will however forever be Overhill Cherokee descendents regardless of what band or organization they belong to.

There should be no animosity among our people. We should be family of kindred spirits. If we do have an issue with someone who doesn't agree with us and has left, we need not make an issue of it.

I, personally, am very saddened about the way things have come about since the gathering. Protocol was not followed, the By-law book, which we agreed to abide by as a member of the Overhill Nation, was not followed. No-one to my knowledge asked for any type of hearing to see if things could be worked out. SO IT IS WHAT IT IS. The Overhill Nation has gone thru this situation a half dozen times in the past 25 years..

The Overhill Nation is solid and will continue to honor our ancestors ways and heritage..

The other group that has formed will also become a strong nation I believe. I sincerely pray this to be.

In the Overhill Nation there will be some changes made in the month ahead due to this situation, but they will be made by responsible Overhill members advice.

For 20 years, before a gathering I would borrow the money I felt was needed to fund our gatherings. When I received the donations at the gatherings, I would pay my personal debt. Sometimes there would be a couple hundred dollars more than I needed, so sometimes I would help with gas for members to get home. Sometimes I would collect from donations maybe $300 or $400 short. and my wife paid the bill.

I personally have never asked anyone for a dollar. However there are members in the Overhill Nation that help every year, and this is greatly appreciated. The gathering in September was funded largely by the Wolf Clan of the Overhill Nation and my wife.. So unless you are one of the small number that make the gathering happen, I see no valid reason that anyone should have any questions in regards to the money situation.

If it were not for Gail Wilson, my wife, and especially "Hollywood" and about 12 others that donated what they could, there would not have been a gathering in September. In the past members such as White Cloud, Nancy Cole and her uncle have made the gatherings happen with their donations, among others who prefer to remain nameless.

I have observed the Facebook shenanigans every since I appointed Mary Ellen as acting chief for one year. I was first shocked, then I was hurt, then I became angry, and then I started laughing. I WANT IT TO END! Don't call me just to tell me what someone said on their personal Facebook page.

My Front porch is to be the way I share what I was taught. It doesn't mean this is what someone in the next holler or across the ridge was taught by their family. I share only what I have been taught. I AM NOT the final word on anything concerning the ways history or traditions of our Cherokee ancestors..

The Next Front Porch will be the beginning of another year. I hope it is 8 or 10 years before I have to write another Front Porch like this.

One more thing, the next time I appoint an acting chief for a year I'd like to see protocol followed if there is a disagreement with any action of the acting chief. WE AS OVERHILL CHEROKEE DESCENDENTS MUST AGREE TO DISAGREE