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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.




Cherokee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park


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)



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