Joyce Dugan, Principal Chief

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Joyce Dugan, Principal Chief

Death: (Date and location unknown)
Managed by: Marvin Caulk, (C)
Last Updated:

About Joyce Dugan, Principal Chief

Former Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Cherokee Nation, a teacher and former superintendent of schools, Joyce Dugan has been a mover and a shaper. Elected to office in 1995, Dugan advocated for employment rights for the Cherokee and argued that entrepreneurial efforts by the Cherokee should be rewarded by hiring rights and management placement for qualified individuals. She worked to spread the operation of government to a body of advisors, rather than continue a practice that gave most of the power to the Chief. In keeping with government reform, she argued for a new constitution that would consolidate the best from three existing constitutions. In her advocacy for a responsible Cherokee government, she sought a revitalization of Cherokee culture and established a cultural division of government that would look at cultural heritage issues such as language, repatriation, museum exhibit, and education. She also put the Cherokee on the record with other environmentalists who seek to find solutions for air pollution, water quality, and responsible game laws. She promoted improved health standards for the Cherokee, particularly emphasizing the need to address diabetes which has a high incidence in the Cherokee Nation. Long an advocate for Appalachian issues and for the Cherokee, Joyce's exceptional leadership ability has raised community and national awareness of Cherokee issues and culture. Her work continues today for her people and for the women of western North Carolina. Sources: Vertical Files, UNCA

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