Former Deputy Chief James Garland Eagle served the Cherokee Nation under former Principal Chief Joe Byrd from 1995 to 1999 and prior to that served on the tribal council from 1987 to 1995.
“As Chief of the Cherokee Nation, I respect and admire leaders, like former Deputy Chief Garland Eagle, who have served our sovereign nation,” said Principal Chief Bill John Baker, in a press release. “It takes a special person to serve in a leadership role, a person willing to work for the greater good, to put the people’s needs first and to preserve our values as Cherokees. Garland exemplified those traits.”
Garland Eagle walked on July 2 at the age of 62. He was focused on preserving the Cherokee language and Cherokee culture. He was also the co-founder of the Trail of Tears awards given annually to middle school and high school students, and was instrumental in the forming of the tribal burial policy.
“Garland Eagle was a friend to everybody, and this is a tremendous loss for all of Indian Country,” said Byrd, who also served on the tribal council with Eagle.
Garland Eagle and his wife, Abbie, lived in the Bell Community near Stilwell, Oklahoma. The couple raised three children and have nine grandchildren.
Funeral services are scheduled for Monday, July 8 at 11 a.m. at Sequoyah Schools’ Place Where They Play, 17091 S. Muskogee Ave. in Tahlequah.