The weather cleared off Saturday evening, for a late autumn drive to Newburg where the Southern Cherokee Cultural Center (SCCC) non-profit group met at the Houston House at 6 p.m. for their annual meeting and carry-in dinner.

The weather cleared off Saturday evening, for a late autumn drive to Newburg where the Southern Cherokee Cultural Center (SCCC) non-profit group met at the Houston House at 6 p.m. for their annual meeting and carry-in dinner. It was warm in the old hotel and women scurried to get ham, roast beef, vegetables and cobbler on the tables before the meeting.
Local artist and musician Dan Woodward is a board member who was looking at a photo of someone’s grandfather dressed up in traditional Cherokee regalia. Dan will use the photo to help draft a drawing, and later a painting. Southern Cherokee Chief Steve Matthews was deep in conversation with Treasurer Bill Tyler, another board member, and Chrissy and Travis Gray, Share the Harvest food pantry co-chairs were seated at another table conversing with Mary Bird and Jim Bogan. SCCC President Karen Paul was busy tying up loose ends between the kitchen and head table.

This gathering of interested non-tribal volunteers and tribal members were present to reaffirm the group’s mission, goals, give a financial report and update everyone on the plans for the coming year.  

According to Debbie Hussey, another board member, the group’s mission is to elevate the station of the Southern Cherokee Indian tribe in Mo. through the pursuit of education, health and financial prosperity, while celebrating a rich culture and history.

RDN wanted to include the goals of the SCCC organization, so more people would understand this relatively new group’s efforts to help the Southern Cherokee.

n To improve the financial status of the Southern Cherokee people by employing all acceptable, sustainable fundraising vehicles at hand in order to build a strong financial base and lift the Southern Cherokee people about the federal poverty level.

n To create awareness of the Southern Cherokee among the general public through a comprehensive marketing plan in an effort to raise the profile of the tribe and to bolster fundraising efforts.

n To form strategic alliances with federal, state and local entities, institutions of higher learning, specifically the Missouri University of Science and Technology, and key individuals who possess unique skills and resources that will enhance and reinforce the activities of the Southern Cherokee.

n To improve the current level of education among  the Southern Cherokee, first by building an awareness of the need for advanced education among the parents and younger members of the tribe; creating programs geared to the specific needs of our children; and lastly, to impart the importance of lifelong learning among the adults.

n to improve the collective health of the tribe by creating alliances with the medical community in order to provide free clinics to treat current health problems; and organize programs to educate tribal members to healthy food choices and exercise in an effort to prevent such diseases as diabetes.

n To promote tribal identity among our people through a formalized program that will impart our complex history, while simultaneously celebrating our rich culture through events such as the reenactment of the Stomp Dance, storytelling by elders and sharing historical crafts with younger tribal members, all in an effort to share our history and rebuild  our collective self-esteem.

According to Treasurer Bill Tyler, the group’s fundraising efforts are directed towards saving for some land and a building where the Southern Cherokee can congregate. It will serve as a learning center and central location for ceremonies and other tribal activities. SCCC Vice President Steve Matthews said the tribe felt like it needed a place of belonging, something with permanence that would hold great meaning for the tribe. He mentioned that the tribe isn’t used to having non-tribal people help and that it has been an adjustment to accept that help. He said the tribal members are grateful and realize they need to be more visible within the community.

SCCC is already involved in their big fundraiser which is the Vintage Market. Bill Tyler, supported by the mentoring of Linda Carr, agreed to chair the project. The sale date is April 7, 2018 and will be held at the Eugene Northern Community Center. The group has been taking donations periodically throughout the year which are comprised of such articles as antiques, jewelry or other items of interest with a market value.  
The group has also produced a Southern Cherokee calendar for sale produced by Darla Matthews and Luce Myers. It features a red-tail hawk and monthly tear-sheets. The calendar notes Southern Cherokee events, celebrations and important dates. The Cherokee language is used throughout.
The non-profit group also heads up the monthly food pantry in cooperation with the Columbia Food Bank. According to Chrissie and Travis Gray, the pantry services approximately 150 families per month.
SCCC is getting an on-line presence started. Webmaster Justine Acton has a Facebook page up and she hopes soon to get a website up and running.
Karen Paul addressed a pressing need. “We need community members,” she said. “Our board is short two community members—our board [now] has five tribal and four community.” The reason according to Karen is that two community members got adopted into the tribe.
After the financial report, a motion was passed to adjourn and eat, seconded and the crowd moved towards the old hotel’s kitchen area where two tables were loaded with what could be considered a Thanksgiving feast, without the turkey. Ham and roast beef, tamales, a dozen different vegetables, homemade rolls, pies, cobbler and lots of conversation rounded out the evening.