Jerry Wolfe, tribal elder of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, delivered the opening prayer in the Cherokee language at the N.C. Senate session June 19, 2014.
Wolfe, 89, was named a Beloved Man by the tribal council in April, 2013, an honor which has not been bestowed by the Eastern Band in more than 200 years. He is a fluent speaker of the Cherokee language and a tribal traditionalist steeped in the knowledge of tribal history and culture.
Widely recognized for his service to the Eastern Band, Wolfe is a Navy veteran who was aboard a ship both during the D-Day invasion at Normandy and the Japanese surrender that ended World War II.
He has received numerous honors over the years for his cultural knowledge including the North Carolina Folk Heritage Award in 2003 and the Brown-Hudson Folklore Award from the North Carolina Folklore Society in 2010.
“Jerry Wolfe is a well-respected and tremendous leader for our people, which he has demonstrated through his life’s work,” commented Michell Hicks, Principal Chief of the Eastern Band. “It is a great honor for him, and for our Tribe, to open a session of the North Carolina Senate in the Cherokee language.”
Wolfe was accompanied by Vice Chief Larry Blythe and members of his family at Thursday’s event.