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Opinion Letters

In a letter to the editor, published on Oct. 16, Rachel Truesdell wrote that as Mayor, I “have a lot of explaining to do because most of the arguments in the media from the Town of Franklin are horribly invalid and definitely culturally insensitive.” She was speaking of the Nikwasi Mound.

I thank her for expressing her opinion, although it was quite critical of the Town of Franklin in this ongoing controversy over ownership of the Mound. Speaking only for myself, here is my personal response.

The Mound was saved by the Macon County Historical Society in 1946, when it was bought with contributions from school children, residents, and non-residents who were, “interested in the preservation of Nequassi (Nikwasi) Mound, (who) have purchased said property in order that the same may be preserved in its entirety.” The deed was conveyed to the Town of Franklin and registered at the Register of Deeds Office on Oct. 7, 1946. The Mound was bought for $1,500. That would be equivalent to $20,000 in today’s currency.

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The progressive elites enabled by the media and higher education have been promoting the mantra of similarity between politicians for decades. This constant drumbeat has served the purpose of silencing dissent and discouraging voters from participating “since what difference does it make?” How pervasive this has become was illustrated during the recent state Senate debate. When Senator Davis made a point that has been verified by statistical evidence, some members of the audience were heard to “gasp” and became “uncomfortable.” Why? What makes the left start to hyperventilate and suffer a case of the vapors whenever anyone, particularly someone who represents us in government, is willing to speak the truth? Citizens are best represented by someone who is able and willing to look realistically at problems in order to offer and present solutions.

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Are you better off now than you were, say, a year ago? For most of us that depends on whether the bank account is larger and we have more money in our wallets. In North Carolina, that depends on how much money you make.

This year, we all got a cut in our income taxes. Near the bottom of the income scale, your taxes went down about 0.2 percent, so you may not have noticed. In the middle of the scale the decrease was about 1.2 percent and the top earners saved almost 2 percent on income taxes. However, if you’re among the “working poor” and used the Earned Income Tax Credit in the past, forget it for the future because your Republican legislature repealed it.

Have you noticed that you’re spending more on your kid’s school supplies recently. It got worse this year when the tax holiday for school supplies was repealed. If your child is in college, their meal plan is now taxed for the first time. You also lost the deduction for your college savings plan.

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How shameful to see the town of Franklin adding insult to injury by refusing to return the Nikwasi mound to its rightful owners, the Cherokee peoples.

To refuse the request for transfer by asserting our ownership and hiding behind a fear of legal reprisal only serves to continue a legacy of exploitation and betrayal. To lay claim to the mound, the sacred heart of the displaced Cherokee peoples’ community, is to tacitly condone the thievery and genocide that facilitated its acquisition.

As I see it, the real problem is this: here we are in 2014 and the people chosen to represent the town of Franklin don’t understand that the Nikwasi mound is not theirs to give.

Jeff Southerland — Franklin, N.C.

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