Cory Blankenship ‘07 is deeply connected to his roots as a Cherokee. As a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Blankenship oversees the management of the Office of the Treasurer, including the departments of revenue, disbursements, investments, and risk management for the Tribal Government.
Recognized by the federal government as one of only three Cherokee tribes, the Eastern Band of Cherokee provides its members with essential services such as healthcare, public utilities, emergency services, housing, and education.
“As Tribal Treasurer, my responsibility is to be a good steward to the tribe’s financial resources, ensuring stringent internal controls, sound fiscal management, and providing accountability and transparency through the Office of the Treasurer,” says Blankenship.
Previously, Blankenship worked as the Director of Programs for the Cherokee Historical Association. It was there that he developed and implemented new educational programs which emphasized the culture, history, and tradition of the organization.
Blankenship attributes his commitment to public service through the legacy that his family instilled within the tribal government. Both of Blankenship’s grandfathers served as chairman of the Tribal Council; in fact, Blankenship is the third generation of his family to graduate from NC State and serve the community in the Tribal Government.
After graduating from NC State with a bachelor’s degree in political science, Blankenship went on to pursue his master’s degree in public affairs at Western Carolina University. Currently, he is on track to receive his Master of Jurisprudence in Federal Indian Law at the University of Tulsa College of Law.
“A working knowledge of Indian Law is critical to tribal leaders so they can effectively serve their communities,” says Blankenship. “This knowledge, coupled with my education in public policy, allows me to better manage 21st century challenges and opportunities.”
Blankenship plans to continue work as the Tribal Treasurer to better provide information, education, transparency, and accountability to his community. He also intends to pursue professional certification programs that will further his role as an Indian Country professional with hopes to one day serve his people as Principal Chief.
“I take great pride in the core traditional values of the Cherokee people,” says Blankenship. “My personal mission and path are forged with the values of dedicated work, integrity, perseverance, and vision, instilled and reinforced by family and community.”