Cherokee Bands and Public Stop Duke Energy Substation at Kituwah!
Duke Energy’s recent attempt to construct a power substationi n the view of the Cherokee people’s most sacred site mobilized hundreds of the concerned public, Cherokee Bands, and elected officials in western NC. Construction on the project was stopped in April thanks to widespread resistance! A mound marks the 9,000-year-old ancestral home site of the Cherokee at Kituwah, in the valley of the Tuckasegee River.
Two years ago, Duke purchased property on a hill visible from the mound intending to build a forty-foot-tall metal substation, which the company says is necessary to prevent regional blackouts. Both the Eastern and United Keetoowah Bands of Cherokee Indians passed resolutions opposing the project, calling Kituwah “the most important site for the origination and continuation of Cherokee culture, heritage, history and identity” and resolving to protect it from “degradation by human agency”. Meanwhile, hundreds of citizens complained to the NC Utilities Commission; newspapers covered the story statewide; groups rented nearby billboards to “Stop Duke Energy,” and the group “Citizens to Protect Kituwah Valley and Swain County” filed an official compliant. In March, the Swain County Board of Commissioners put a 90 day moratorium on construction. Duke now says it is getting close to finalizing an alternative site for the substation.
Congratulations to all whose actions led to victory for environmental and cultural justice!