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BRYSON CITY, N.C. (AP) -- A Native American tribe is planning to form its own social services agency to protect children on a North Carolina reservation.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is taking the action in part because of the death of a 15-month-old girl. Tribal leaders say Swain County social services workers didn't do enough to protect Aubrey Kina-Marie Littlejohn. Aubrey was a member of the tribe, and she died in 2011.
A special committee will appoint a board for the proposed social services agency. Committee member Ruth McCoy says once the board is appointed, it will hire a director.
McCoy is the great-aunt of Aubrey, whose death sparked outrage in the Native American community.
Currently Swain County and three others provide child protective and other services to the sprawling reservation.