Letters to the Editor

Voice of the People - November 22, 2007

Chief Blue has much for which to be thankful

This week, we celebrate Thanksgiving, a very special day when we reflect on the many blessings for which we should be thankful. It is with this in mind that I, as the retired chief of the Catawba Nation, write this letter.

I have much to be thankful for. On Dec.5, I will celebrate my 74th birthday. Almost 34 of those years, I represented the Catawba Nation as chief.

I want to thank the members of the Catawba Nation for allowing me to serve. This letter is not written to try to explain all that has transpired during my years as chief, but is simply a letter of thanks. Thanks to all those who believed in me, who supported me, who respected me, and those who were forgiving of the mistakes I made.

To those members of the Nation who were judgmental and even hurtful sometimes, I want you to know I hold no grudges. I have nothing but love and respect for all members of the Catawba Nation, regardless of our differences. I want the Nation's members as well as those in the community to know that I have always considered it an honor to represent the Catawba people.

When I have stood before governors, congressman, senators and even presidents of these United States, and my name was called as the chief and representative of the Catawba Nation, no one stood any taller than I did at those moments.

In times past, there have been great warriors among the Catawba people. We still have great warriors among us today. We have people of great courage, people with great hearts, hearts that are full of love and service not only to each other but also to our community, to our state and to our country.

From a personal standpoint, let me say thanks to local and state political leaders whom I've met, worked with and served with over the years. To business leaders in the community, thanks for being respectful and courteous to me over the years, even when we disagreed. Thanks to everyday men and women who make up our community. I've spoken with many of you on the streets, in shopping malls, in churches, in entertainment settings, and many of you expressed your good wishes for me. It really meant a lot to me to hear our kind words.

Finally, to the young people of Rock Hill, York County and the surrounding areas, thanks for being respectful and courteous to me as I visited with you in your classrooms and playgrounds. From the university level down to the kindergarten, you all made me welcome. I don't want to slight anyone, but I have to give special thanks to Oakdale School and particularly to Mrs. Hallman's classes. Over the years, we have had a very special relationship. I can truthfully say I cannot recall one time that I've visited with students in our local area and the state as a whole when students were not loving and respectful to me.

I know after I have given this letter to The Herald I will remember something I should have said, but that comes with age. Lastly, let me say I have a very large cedar chest in my home, and in the cedar chest are letters from governors, senators, congressmen, even presidents, church leaders and civic leaders. But of all the material in that cedar chest, the most precious are the letters from the students in the elementary schools. They are so honest and filled with love.

I will close by saying I'm writing a book, all the things you want know about my 34 years as chief. The difficulties, the failures and the successes will be in the book.

Thanks again to all with whom I've worked, served with and shared many good times with over the years. It's been a good run.

Gilbert Blue

Retired chief