WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH THE CHEROKEE BEARS?
The proponents of moving the caged bears in the holding facilities in and about Cherokee have finally received word that a Tribal Council work session is now schedule for March 6th giving an hour and one half to decide the fate of these bears.
The Principal Chief, Michelle Hicks, openly stated in a local television interview that he is opposed to moving the bears and that it would hurt the Cherokee economy. There is also a proposal coming before council with a request to lease tribal land for a wildlife zoo and an animal rehabilitation center. This proposal is being presented by the owners of the Cherokee Zoo who have many USDA violations over the past years.
So, in the best interest of the caged animals, a move to a healthy, more natural environment is the only humane action that should be entertained at this point. Supposedly, the bears are in a hibernation state until the last of March for first of April when they will likely emerge with their new cubs. They will be hungry and ready to begin their natural teaching roles as mothers, if they are allowed to do so. It is believed that in the past, the older bears have been killed and the young cubs raised to take their place in the viewing holes. One recipient of an old bear said “well, I guess that means I’ll lose my yearly supply of bear meat”.
The questions remain though, why is the Chief opposed to removing the bears, and how much do these establishments really contribute to our economy. If the truth be known, the Cherokee economy has suffered greatly because of the imposed boycott to our tourist destination since these bear conditions were made public by PETA and other organizations that support their efforts. Perhaps with the assistance of wildlife advocates a place for these caged bears will be located.
Submitted by: Peggy Hill, an enrolled member of EBCI who is asking for the Tribal Council to approve the resolution that calls for the removal of the bears from their present concrete “prisons”.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will be meeting on March 7, 2013 to discuss the fate of the bears held in captivity. The Elders will propose the following resolutions
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that all the owners of caged animals being held for public exhibit are hereby required to remove their animals from captivity at their own expense and their business license be revoked per EBCI Code Section 106.15 and
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that tribal ordinances (CODE sec. 19) be enforced and amended, to reflect stronger regulations than those of USDA for the maintenance of all forms of life held for public exhibit and include reference to Sec. 106.15, and
NOW BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that this resolution is approved by Tribal Council in which a quorum is present and that it become effective after being ratified by the Principal Chief.