Cherokee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Very much known being the headquarters for the eastern Band of the
Cherokee Indians, the town of Cherokee in Swain County is a favorite
tourist destination. The town is in Western North Carolina, bordering at
the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and at the south of
an All-American Road, the 469-miles Blue Ridge Parkway. Among the most
important events annually held in Cherokee is the third oldest
historical drama in the United States, "Unto These Hills" which follows
the story of the Cherokee of the Eastern region up to their removal in
1838. Some of the famous alumni of the play are Academy Award-winning
actor Morgan Freeman and Michael Rosenbaum, who is best known for
portraying Lex Luthor on Smallville.
Cherokee's traditional view on the Native Americans has been one of the
area's much treasured heritage. Slowly, the tribe is starting to depart
themselves away from the concept of them being tourist attractions, thus
led to the formation of a number tourist destinations and cultural
centers which veer away from the physical stereotype.
Some of the most important cultural attractions of Cherokee are its
museums, particularly the Museum of the Cherokee Indian which gives the
visitors the access to the past, an educational journey that unveils of
history from the beginnings of human existence in the area, which dates
back to 11,000 years in the past. The museum is open seven days a week
excluding Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
Another important place for tourists is the Oconaluftee Indian Village
which gives its visitors the chance to experience making hand-crafted
works such as pottery, beadwork, baskets and finger weaving, with
Cherokee art instructors. This village was faithfully preserved to look
the same way it was established in 1750. Other interesting activities in
the Indian Village are blowgun demo, weaving and mask carving.
Another important artists' hub in Cherokee is the Qualla Arts and
Crafts Mutual which gives tourists the access to ancient crafts making.
This is the oldest and leading Native American Arts cooperative in the
Unites States. Just like in Oconaluftee, the wide range of arts and
crafts in Qualla includes pottery which incorporates an intricate
process of coil and pinch method, a method which requires none other
than skilled hands in shaping the loam, stone for smoothing the vessels
and stamps for adding up colors and patterns. Other interesting crafts
in Qualla include containers made from oak splints, honeysuckle and
maple, an impressive display of practical arts, emphasizing on their
talent in carving and sculpting.
Some of the events worth visiting in Cherokee are the Cherokee KOA
Fishing Tournament (March and August), Cherokee Visitor Appreciation Day
(May), "Unto These Hills" Outdoor Drama (June), Cherokee Voices Festival
(June) and Cherokee Christmasand New Year's Eve Parade (December)