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Cherokee group slices acres for cultural site in Scottsboro

SCOTTSBORO (AP) — In an effort to make a proposed cultural center on Goosepond Island more appealing to the Scottboro City Council, an American Indian tribe has cut the size of the land it seeks to build the tribal complex on.

Leon Williamson, a member of the United Cherokee Ani-Yun-Wiya Nation, told the council Monday night the tribe wanted to build the center on 55 acres on the southern tip of the island, mainly to educate people about the American Indians who once lived on the island.

Williamson said the tribe would eventually like to expand the site to the 300 acres it had initially requested if the project becomes a big tourist draw. He believes the complex, including a museum, gift shop and veterans memorial, would attract thousands of visitors annually.

"There's no reason why Scottsboro cannot attract that many visitors," said Garry Morgan, a council-appointed committee member studying the proposal.

But council President Keith Smith said the project demands more research. He said he was concerned that turning the land over to the tribe would lead to a gambling operation.

But Williamson said he and other tribal leaders vowed they would never pursue gambling, with education their main goal in creating the cultural center.

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Information from: The Huntsville Times, www.al.com/hsvtimes/hsv.html

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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