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Asheville, North Carolina News

Archive for the ‘cherokee’ Category

Western Carolina University Professor Earns Lifetime Achievement Award

Friday, July 31st, 2009

CULLOWHEE, NC – Robert J. Conley, the Sequoyah Distinguished Professor of Cherokee Studies at Western Carolina University, is the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award winner from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas.

A novelist, short story writer, poet and essayist, Conley is the author of more than 50 books. They include “Back to Malachi,” “Ned Christie’s War,” “Mountain Windsong: A Novel of the Trail of Tears,” “The Dark Way,” “War Woman” and “Cherokee Dragon.”

Conley has won the Spur Award from the Western Writers of America for the novels Nickajack and The Dark Island, and for his short story “Yellow Bird: An Imaginary Autobiography.” Earlier this year, he received the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book.

Conley assumed his duties as an endowed professor at Western Carolina University in 2008, prior to which he was a professional writer and served as programs director of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. The endowed professorship was established in 1998 and is dedicated to the preservation of Cherokee and Native American culture, heritage and values.

A registered tribal member of the Cherokee Nation, Conley taught throughout the Midwest and was attracted to the mountains of Western North Carolina by the opportunity to connect with ancient Cherokee history. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Midwestern University in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Conley will be honored, along with the winners of the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas’ First Book Awards for Poetry and Prose, during the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers Festival at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in late October.

For more information about Cherokee studies, contact the program office at (828) 227-3841.

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel Breaks Ground on Luxury Tower

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Harrah's Casino

CHEROKEE, NC – Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel today broke ground on its new 532-room luxury Tower, part of a $633 million expansion to position the property as the premier gaming destination in the Southeast and world-class entertainment and tourism destination. The Master Plan for the property is currently the largest hospitality expansion project underway in the Southeast and one of the largest in the U.S., offering the greatest number of hotel accommodations in the state.

Upon completion in 2012, the 37-acre property will have added a third tower incorporating luxury accommodations and high-end suites, a 3,000-seat events center, entertainment and VIP lounges, 16,000-square-foot spa, new state-of-the-art digital poker room, Asian gaming room, restaurant and retail outlets, and hotel and casino parking garages. Harrah’s Cherokee is also renovating current casino facilities and doubling the size of its casino floor to 150,000 square feet while increasing video and table game capacity. The facilities will incorporate the Eastern Band of Cherokee’s extensive and important collection of Native American art. Significant investment is being made in technology and group services, from business and conference support to elaborate catering services.

Today’s groundbreaking ceremonies included Harrah’s management and executives, Eastern Band of Cherokee Tribal leaders, government officials and local VIPs, construction and design representatives and members of the media. The project has significant economic impact for the region, significantly increasing hospitality-related and construction jobs available in the region.

Speaking at the event were Principal Chief Michell Hicks, Eastern Band of Cherokees; Norma Moss, Chair of Tribal Casino Gaming Enterprise; Lynn Minges, Assistant Secretary/Tourism, Marketing and Global Branding, North Carolina; Darold Londo, Senior Vice President/General Manager, Harrah’s Cherokee; John Payne, Central Division President, Harrah’s Entertainment; Ken Leach, Executive Vice President, Turner Construction.

Principal Chief Hicks said that the Tribe — along with Harrah’s Entertainment — is proud of the massive expansion effort that will grow and transform the property into "a world-class entertainment and tourism destination." Chief Hicks noted: "Despite the economy, the expansion will position the property in perfect position — ahead of the competition — when the economy rebounds and we can welcome new customers anxious for world-class entertainment, accommodations and service."

Visitors to Harrah’s Cherokee enjoy nearby recreational, athletic and cultural attractions within the Great Smoky Mountains, and visits to Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Oconaluftee Indian Village, Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual Gallery and “Unto These Hills” Mountainside Theater. Opening in September 2009 is nearby Sequoia National Golf Club designed by world-renowned golf architect Robert Trent Jones II.

Cherokee Museum Plans $2 Million-Plus Expansion

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Cherokee Warrior

CHEROKEE, NC – The Museum of the Cherokee Indian is well on its way to raising enough money for an expansion in the North Carolina mountains.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported during June that the Cherokee Preservation Foundation has raised nearly $2 million. The Foundation will match any additional donations.

A planned public reading room and digital library will bring archives and research materials from the Smithsonian, the National Archives and other collections to the Cherokee museum.

Students, academics and tribe members will have easy access to material they now have to travel to Washington D.C. to get. The facility will also include an 8,500-square-foot education and research wing with classrooms, an art studio and performance area.

Cherokee Tribe Votes to Allow Casino Alcohol Sales

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Cherokee Casino

CHEROKEE, NC – Alcohol sales at a North Carolina mountain casino have been approved by members of the Cherokee Indian tribe.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported Friday that the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians approved alcohol sales 1,847 to 1,301 after nearly half the tribe’s registered voters went to polls.

Supporters of alcohol sales said it would boost profits at the tribe’s casino. The tribe uses half the profits from the 11-year-old casino to run its government and half for twice-a-year payments to tribal members.

It was the second alcohol sales vote, but the first since the casino was constructed. Tribal members voted 2-1 against alcohol sales in 1980.