Cherokee Nation

Trip Start Aug 13, 2007
Trip End Nov 12, 2007

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Flag of United States  , North Carolina
Monday, September 3, 2007

Today we drove down to Cherokee, North Carolina - to the Oconaluftee Indian Village first and then the Cherokee Museum, both on the Cherokee Reservation, near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We arrived at the Indian Village first & paid our $42 entry fee for all of us (ouch!). We watched a 10 minute video and then went through the village. We had a guide called Denise and she talked very fast and robotically, as if she were reading a teleprompter at each stop. We went past a beader, weaver, potter, basket maker, wood carver, a blow dart maker (who gave a demonstration with it, Josh really liked that bit!) and we also saw a 1500's, 1750's and 1800 reconstructions of Cherokee cabins. We also saw how they made dug out canoes with clay & small fires and the type of traps they used to catch fish & game. We were then herded into a reconstruction of a 7-sided council house where another woman (with a really hard to understand accent) told us a bit more about the Cherokee. Then we walked to the next area, set up like a Cherokee Square Ground - there was a small shelter in the centre of a square ring of sand - the space inside was 'sacred' ground, and in a real Cherokee village or meeting area, anyone touching or messing with that built up sand or late for a meeting/pow wow would be tied to the 'Punishing Pole' and left there without food or water until the meeting/dancing was over - up to 7 days! The man who spoke here (I can't remember his name) was very passionate about his people, his heritage & his language and was fascinating to watch & listen to. He was the highlight of the village for me, the real deal - the rest of it seemed too tourist-but-trying-to-be-authentic and I felt we were rushed through - even though we were repeatedly told that we could walk back through the village by ourselves at the end of the tour and talk to the craftspeople - but the craftspeople didn't appear overly friendly or talkative. The man in the square demonstrated some Cherokee drums, rattles, and eagle wing fan things. He taught us how to say 'Hello' in Cherokee and dispelled quite a few myths about the Cherokee & Native Americans. After we'd finished we went down to the Cherokee museum where we paid another $30 (again, OUCH!) to go in, which was really a waste of money, as the kids were hungry by that time and we didn't really get to read many of the displays as they wanted to get out to eat. So we fed them Burger King before driving to our campground.
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paul on

Thanks for that. I found it an interesting little insight to a part of USA that I don't hear about.

postonfamilyusa on

interesting & informative
We have never had the opportunity to visit the Cherokee museum and village and are glad to read your take on it. Now we will know where and when to lay our money down. It is but a short drive for us and a likely destination for our homeschool outings. We do, however, highly recommend the 'Unto These Hills' dramatic play. May your travels continue to be blessed with safety & care, in the Lord Jesus-The Poston Family, TN

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