Ensuring that Tribal Citizens receive preference in Hiring and Native-owned Businesses receive Preference in the award of Tribal Contracts.


In exercising its inherent sovereign authority in serving the needs of its tribal citizens, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (“EBCI”) adopted the Tribal Preference Law and Wages/Employment Rights to regulate employment relations on or near the Qualla Indian Boundary.


To ensure that tribal citizens receive preference in hiring and Native-owned businesses receive preference in the award of Tribal contracts.


By providing hiring and contracting preference, TERO works to increase fair employment of EBCI citizens and other tribal citizens, and to promote growth and professionalism of Native-owned businesses with the overall goal of reducing discrimination in employment.


It is the responsibility of the Tribal Employment Rights Office (TERO) to implement and enforce the TERO Ordinance.  The purpose of the Ordinance is:

  • To ensure that employment rights are protected; and, to investigate and mediate employment discrimination involving unfair employment practices and procedures prohibited by Title VII of the Indian Civil Rights Act (ICRA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and Equal Pay Act (EPA).
  • To assist employers, contractors and subcontractors in the fair employment of Indians on or near tribal lands
  • To provide a contracting preference for Indian-owned busines
  • To monitor and enforce the TERO Ordinance to ensure employment rights are protected
  • To prevent discrimination against Indians in the employment practices of employers within the jurisdiction of the Tribe
  • To establish the Tribal Employment Rights Commission and Office to further these objectives



TERO works with Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians citizens and local Indian applicants to encourage work with certified economic entities who do work on the EBCI tribal trust lands (Qualla Indian Boundary).  TERO maintains a listing of skilled individuals and their crafts.  This listing is used by TERO to fill job vacancies that have been negotiated with contractors doing business with the EBCI.

Over the years, TERO has successfully placed individuals in jobs throughout the EBCI and its entities along with outside companies.  We welcome you to stop by our office for assistance with submitting an employment application, resume building, interviewing walk-through’s and to look for a job that is right for you!


Any documentation such as work history, certificates, resume, letters or reference, etc.

Tribal ID or CIB card, valid driver’s license



indian preference contractors

 TERO maintains a listing of Indian-owned businesses that receive preferential treatment in the bid process.  This listing is used by the EBCI tribal government programs and tribal entities to procure goods and services as needed. 



To certify as a TERO Vendor, please contact the TERO office for assistance.  The application is available for download here.

Mother town healing program

A TERO initiative established to assist EBCI enrolled members in recovery by providing a safe and supportive working environment, training for necessary job skills, and discipline to re-enter the workforce in a positive manner.  While the goal is for participants to become employable, we also encourage them to rebuild and strengthen community connections that may have been lost due to substance use/abuse disorders.  This organized multi-system approach is designed to benefit the livelihood of enrolled members and their families through:

Workforce skill building & education

Personal Growth

Re-connection to community & culture

Healthy life skills

Wellness & recovery support