For Charles “Chuck” Schue, Executive MBA ’05, his Native American heritage plays a significant role in his identity. On his mother’s side of the family, he is descended from the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation. He has made it a priority to incorporate numerous Cherokee traditions and activities into his family’s lives so that they can continue celebrating the heritage and the achievements of their ancestors. “Most people in the United States are from someplace else,” he says. “We tend to forget our indigenous people have been here for tens of thousands of years, and their cultures deserve as much recognition and respect as all the others that make up this great country.”
As most people know, “Native American” is a name that encompasses hundreds of tribes across the continent. While similarities exist among them, customs and languages vary greatly. Schue’s tribe stayed along the Oconaluftee River in North Carolina following the Indian Removal Act of 1830. “It is an honor to be descended from the Cherokee people, especially considering their history and contributions to our modern life,” he says. “For example, the Cherokee were the only Native Americans to have their own written language. Cherokee veterans were among the first ‘code talkers’ used for relaying highly classified information over the radio during the World Wars.”
One of the ways that Schue stays connected is through attending Native American festivals and Pow Wows. It is also how he instills the Cherokee pride in his children. “We incorporated Native American traditions into my son’s Eagle Scout ceremony, and both my children have Cherokee names besides their given names,” he says. Many of the values and beliefs of the Cherokee way of life are tenets in Schue’s family, among them being personal integrity, family honor, harmony with nature, and belief in a supreme being. A founding donor of the National Museum of the American Indian, he also enjoys celebrating the culture through listening to the music and collecting traditional Cherokee items such as flutes and baskets.
Chuck Schue has risen through the business world to now being president and CEO of Tagence, a service-disabled veteran-owned small business. Tagence is just one of several businesses in which Schue is a founder, owner, investor, and/or executive. Tagence serves commercial, government, and nonprofit clients with business efficiency strategies, including hyperautomation tools. Whether in the office or with his family, Schue proudly represents his Cherokee heritage. It is more than a story of where he came from. Schue’s heritage is a major part of who he is, giving him direction in life, reminding him where he came from and where he is going.