Osiyo! Doquadoa Abby Lowe dayaditlv sgadugi. Hello, my name is Abby Lowe and I was selected to represent the At-Large on the Cherokee Nation Tribal Youth Council for the 2018-2019 year.
In September of 2018, I saw there was an advertisement on Facebook, that the Cherokee Nation sent out, and they were calling for the first At-Large member for the CNTYC. After doing a little research, I thought I should apply because it looked like a perfect learning opportunity, plus it looked like a lot of fun with the activities I saw they did throughout the year. In order to be considered for the role, you must go through an application process. The application was quite simple, I just had to have a lot of verified documents. I was notified within two weeks of sending off my application, in which, I was ecstatic when I received news that I was chosen to represent. On the council there are 17 members, we have eight members from the northern half of the Cherokee Nation and 8 from the southern half, then me, one at-large.
Typically on the first Saturday of each month, we get together at the Cherokee Nation Headquarters in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Every meeting we have a language lesson, in which someone from the Cherokee Nation comes in and teaches us the fundamentals of learning the language. We currently are planning a vision for young Cherokee citizens which will allow kids that are up and coming in the nation to have more knowledge on their heritage and also will teach children at younger ages the language as it is dying out quickly. During our meeting we also do cultural activities, such as basket weaving, beading, visiting the heritage center, and we recently just started genealogy research. We also talk about problems that are arising through the nation, and ways we can reach out and help.
Things I have already got to experience through this wonderful opportunity is meeting a lot of new friends and faces. As a council, we went to the Oklahoma State Capitol where we were able to meet with senators and representatives and were allowed to advocate for the Cherokee Nation. We also have gone to council meetings and interacted with the tribal council members. One council member that I met was Joe Byrd, and in 1989 he was instrumental in establishing the tribal youth council. Along with him, I met Chief Bill John Baker, and I even had the opportunity to meet the at-large councilors Mary Baker-Shaw and Wanda Hatfield.
We are currently planning to a trip back home to Cherokee, North Carolina in July. I am excited to learn more about my heritage and cannot wait to see what new experiences I will gain through the youth council.