Letter writer explains she is not an ‘outsider’

As author of the letter “Asheville Becoming an Elitist City,” [Oct. 15, Xpress], I was surprised at the many reactions it elicited.

This letter is in response to the majority of people who labeled me an “outsider” intruding on their territory.  So let me explain something to them.

My family, going back many generations, is from these mountains.  My parents were both born and raised on farms in Bakersville.  My paternal grandfather at one time served as sheriff of Mitchell County.  My maternal grandmother was so beloved by the people of Bakersville that a street was named for her in honor of her contribution to the community.

I have Cherokee heritage on both sides of my family, and I have been coming back to these mountains all of my life to visit my relatives who never left here.

As you can see, although vilified as such, I was not just some Florida tourist who took a liking to these parts while vacationing and decided to move here.

This is my ancestral home to which I felt a yearning to return, and, according to my Cherokee history, most of you have encroached on my homeland and not the other way around. I harbor no hard feelings; all is forgiven.

I have been an activist most of my adult life, engaged in activities championing change for the less fortunate among us.  My husband volunteers weekly at MANNA Food Bank.

So please, let’s practice having empathy and respect and not judge our fellow human beings.

Joan Deaver