Author of the Month

The Bond: Connecting through the Space Between Us (cont.)
By Lynne McTaggart

In 2004, a group called the Cherokee National Community Work Projects was formed as a citizen group to provide small amounts of funding to help Native American communities like Tailholt when federal funding isn’t available. Cherokee Nation’s Community Organization Training and Technical Assistance (COTTA) scheme was also set up to teach communities how to band together and maximize any little money they could get.

When the Tailholt community failed to secure the federal funds for their projects, they met with Billy Hix, director of Cherokee Nation’s Engineering and Sanitation Facilities Construction Program within COTTA, who convinced them to be active participants in the construction of the waterline. The community needed “points” to help them qualify, and one measure of adequate points was how much of the project they were willing to do themselves.

The Tailholt community began holding regular meetings, with up to 200 people attending. Of those, a core group of thirty agreed to work on the community’s goals of a town meeting center and a fresh water pipeline. They agreed to provide most of the manpower to dig and bury the ten-mile pipeline into a four-foot ditch — a process that would take four to six months — with the county’s water department overseeing the project and providing technical assistance.

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