It has been a couple of weeks since we returned from our week in Tennessee, but feels like I only left yesterday. I still miss working on the deck, getting lost in the woods and swimming in the freezing lakes. The only thing element of the trip that I found disappointing was losing the fish game. Ed and Arleen Decker were fantastic hosts and Carla was a great cook. I especially appreciated their explanations of how the service projects that we took part in actually aided the community. Picking up garbage in the forest is a lot less terrible if you know that there are thousands of people coming to the campground the next weekend for the start of fishing season and the park rangers will never be able to get the site cleaned up in time. I though that it was interesting to learn about Cherokee culture. They have a dry community and the two Cherokee that I talked to wanted to keep it that way; however, one of them seemed resigned that a proposed law for a wet county would pass, while the other one was confident that it would be defeated. Shorty believed that a dry county was necessary and that Cherokee were genetically predisposed to having alcohol problems, but he believed the law would pass easily. I’m not exactly sure what this difference in opinion with regards to the fate of the law says about Cherokee politics. Both people (Shorty and the Liberian at the youth center) seemed to be heavily involved in the Cherokee community and they were both very conscious of the historical identity of the Cherokee. From listening to both of them the proposed law seems like it is dividing the community. It is unfortunate that I was not able to talk to anyone in favor of the law, as I would have liked to hear their opinions as well as Shorty’s and the Liberians.
I had an amazing time on this trip and I would like to thank everyone on team Tennessee for a great time and especially Jocelyn for all of the work that she put in, to both prepare us beforehand and to make sure we had a successful trip.