Villages and Reservations
Trip Start Apr 10, 1996
14Trip End Apr 12, 1996
The Cherokee Indian Reservation covers 56,000 acres in an area east of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park known as the Qualla Boundary. Most of the 10,000 members of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Tribe live within the Boundary in the communities of Yellowhill, Birdtown, Painttown, Snowbird, Big Cove and Wolftown.
The Visitors Center downtown is a good place to start gathering information on the museums and attractions in town. Souvenir shops and trading posts abound, but two things you don't want to miss are the Museum of the Cherokee Indian where artifacts and displays show the history of the Cherokee People; and the spectacular outdoor drama, Unto These Hills. Get tickets in advance at the box office on Hwy U441, many hotels offer shuttle service for the performance. The play has been in production over 45 years and features more than 100 actors telling the story of the Cherokee. Near the theater is Oconaluftee Indian Village, a replica of an Indian village of more than 200 years ago; there is a seven-sided council house, and demonstrations of craftwork such as flint chipping, fingerweaving, beads, and dugout canoes. Next door to the Museum is Qualla Arts & Crafts, an Indian-owned arts and crafts cooperative.
Cherokee Fish and Game Management stocks the 30 miles of streams on the Reservation; get your permit and go for the rainbow, brook and brown trout, there is a daily limit of 10.
You can enter the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Hwy U441, stop first at Oconaluftee Visitors Center to plan your drive through the Park; visit the Oconaluftee living history area and a 19th-century farm; see farm-life chores being done at the John Davis house and cornmeal made at Mingus Mill.