Personal Reflections on Indigenous Elders as Repositories of Culture

By Rebecca Owl Morgan. This article originally appeared on Generations, American Society on Aging.

During 2020, while COVID-19 was raging across the nation, my tribe, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in Cherokee, N.C., took intense measures early on, shutting down the Qualla Boundary (our tribal lands), implementing mass testing, contract tracing and case isolation. Tribal leaders and elders feel a sense of urgency about preserving the culture and language, as was demonstrated during the worst of the pandemic when Native language speakers were prioritized to receive the vaccine by some tribes.

In the end the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians handled the pandemic more effectively than many other areas in North Carolina, ensuring elders’ legacies.... Read More