A message from Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority CEO Casey Cooper regarding the future Cherokee County Clinic

“As an entity of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, we’ve made a significant discovery that hits close to home. The site planned for our new Cherokee County Clinic actually intersects with a section of the Trail of Tears corridor. It’s a sobering reminder of the hardships our ancestors endured, and it’s crucial that we honor and preserve this piece of history so that future generations never forget.


We’re excited about the opportunity to do things right. We are taking the time to take a step back to figure out how we can incorporate this section of the corridor into the clinic’s plans and to ensure our diligence is done to not disturb this piece of history.  We’re in talks with the NC Trail of Tears Association and other community and cultural partners to make sure we handle this with the respect it deserves.


It’s not just about building a clinic anymore; it’s about acknowledging our past and ensuring it’s never repeated. One of the Guiding Principles that CIHA was founded on is Ni hi tsa tse li, or “it belongs to you” – which is specifically part of our organization’s mission so that we never forget that Cherokee, like other Native American tribes, are able to enjoy the first pre-purchased healthcare in this country because our ancestors purchased it through treaties as recompense for the atrocities that resulted from horrific Indian Policy like the Indian removal Act. While we are discouraged with the delay in construction of the clinic, because it is no doubt needed and deserved for this community, we recognize that we owe it to our ancestors and to ourselves to get this right.” – Casey Cooper, CEO, Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority

Search Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority