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Chad Smith

Chad Smith

Cherokee Principal Chief Chad Smith has been instrumental in promoting the spirit of ga-du-gi—coming together to work for the common good—reflected in the Cherokee Nation’s model environmental initiatives. In the last decade, the nation’s program to track air and water quality in the Cherokee western homelands has grown to be the largest tribal air monitoring system in the United States. In June of this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency honored the Cherokee program with the prestigious Clean Air Excellence Award for community action. The Cherokee Nation also plays a leading role in the Inter-Tribal Environmental Council, more than 40 tribes working to protect the health, natural resources, and environment of Native Americans and their neighbors in communities throughout the Southern Plains and Southwest. A lawyer by training, Principal Chief Smith inherited a rich family history of public service. Perhaps best known are the efforts of his great-grandfather Redbird Smith, a senator of the Cherokee Nation, to fight the U.S. government’s late-19th-century allotment policy, under which more than 7,000,000 acres of treaty lands were taken from the Cherokee people.