A Day Spent in Cherokee Country

When I was planning my road trip around North Carolina and Tennessee a stop in the Cherokee nation was a given. As a traveller I love to learn about other cultures and the Native American Indians are no exception.

Limited on time, I wanted to experience as much as possible in one day. After researching online I came across http://www.cherokeehistorical.org where I could purchase a package deal of three attractions at a discounted price. Included was the Museum Of The Cherokee Indian, The Oconaluftee Indian Village and Unto These Hills Outdoor Drama.

I started the day at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. It was an interesting display of the Cherokee history. I was there no longer than an hour but I don’t always read everything in the exhibits.

Museum of the Cherokee Indian.
Inside the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.
Inside the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.
Inside the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.
Inside the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.

Next stop was just up the road at The Oconaluftee Indian Village where they keep tradition alive and share with visitors. Starting with a guided tour stopping at huts with demonstrations of hand crafting every day items used in life back in the day such as weapons, tools, beading belts, weaving material and waving baskets.

Demonstration and explanation of items crafted for every day use.

At the end of my guided tour I was just in time for a reenactment of a confrontation between Indians and Whites over a white lady who had joined the Indian tribe. The performers were from the Unto These Hills outdoor drama.

Reenactment.

After the reenactment it was time to explore the rest of the village. There were huts that demonstrated the impact metal tools had on the community as well as the council house. The council house has seven sides, one for each tribe within the community.

Council house.

That evening I returned across the road from the village to watch the outdoor drama of Unto These Hills. The drama follows the story of the Cherokee of the Eastern region up to their removal via the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma.

Unto These Hills outdoor drama.
Unto These Hills outdoor drama.
Unto These Hills outdoor drama.
Unto These Hills outdoor drama.
It’s all about timing.
Unto These Hills outdoor drama theatre.

The show was entertaining and educational. The theme of the Trail of Tears runs through both the museum and the show so it does make the show easier to follow if you go to the museum first. I enjoyed the show and was thankful when the restless child behind me, who would not stop asking when he could go home, went home. This is not a show small kids would be able to sit through if they get restless.

In the end it was a day well spent in Cherokee. I even managed a quick trip to a couple of souvenir stores and the casino, though I am happy I did not stay long as you can easily loose track of time in there. All in all you can spend a day in Cherokee and experience most what the town has to offer but an extra day would give you more time to explore the town and surrounding area.

Author: Melanie Birch-Inwood

The question is not 'where have I been' but 'where haven't I been'. I can guarantee if I haven't been, it's on the list! I am an Aussie who loves to travel and I have currently been to 64 countries over 6 continents with no plans on slowing down anytime soon. Currently I am living and studying in America at Appalachian State University for the Fall semester. Join me as I share my experiences, tips and reviews of all things travel and foreign.

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