July 5, 2013
The Cherokee Nation is mourning the loss of former Deputy Chief James Garland Eagle.
Eagle, 62, passed away Tuesday, July 2.
“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. “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.”
In addition to serving as Deputy Chief for former Principal Chief Joe Byrd from 1995-99, Eagle served on the Tribal Council from 1987-95.
The Adair County native focused on the preservation of the Cherokee language and culture during his time as a tribal councilman and as deputy chief. Eagle was also a co-founder of the Trail of Tears awards given annually to middle school and high school students, and proved to be 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.
Eagle and his wife, Abbie, lived in the Bell Community near Stilwell. The couple raised three children and has nine grandchildren.
Funeral services are planned for Monday, July 8, at 11 a.m. at Sequoyah Schools’ Place Where They Play, 17091 S. Muskogee Ave., Tahlequah.