Cherokee Indian Reservation
Origins of the Cherokee – Kituwah Mother Town
Start your exploration of Cherokee at Kituwah, which is believed to be the site of the first Cherokee village possibly dating back 10,000 years. You will find the large circular mound in the fertile bottomland of the Tuckasegee River, as you drive from Bryson City to Cherokee. Over the past two hundred years, use of the acreage for farming and raising cattle has taken its toll. Originally 15 to 20 feet tall, the site now measures only about 5 feet high.
Unto These Hills
The powerful portrayal of the Cherokees’ tragic “Trail of Tears” was first produced in 1950. Music and dance and Cherokee legends are woven into the play. The drama includes many famous Cherokee including Sequoyah, Junaluska, Chief Yonaguska or Drowning Bear, William Holland Thomas (adopted son of Drowning Bear and the first and only white chief of the Cherokee), Tsali, Selu the Corn Mother and Kanati the Great Hunter. The drama is presented in the summer.
Museum of the Cherokee People
Some of the most modern technology, computer-generated imagery, and special effects are used to retrace the 11,000 year documented history of the Cherokees. Virtual storytellers present ancient Cherokee myths. Chronological stories are paired with an extensive collection of artifacts to involve you in this fascinating story. You will meet some of the best-known Cherokees and learn of their heroic efforts to preserve their land and culture. Open 7 days a week, 9 am – 5 pm. Closed New Years Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
The museum is a certified site on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.
Oconaluftee Indian Village
Walk through the village – a faithful reproduction of Cherokee life in the 1750s. Guides in native dress lead you to demonstrations of arrowhead making, blowguns, bead working, finger weaving, mask carving, pottery and canoe hulling. You will visit a Council House and learn about the medicinal importance of herbs, plants, bark and reeds. The Village is open Spring thru Fall, Monday – Saturday.
Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual
Founded in 1946, the oldest and leading Native American Arts cooperative in the United States. Cherokee craftsmen are keeping ancient skills alive today. The Cherokees are known for their ground-fired pottery, oak and river cane basket weaving, beadwork, stone and woodcarving, and tool making. Visiting this store is like walking through a crafts museum, except you can take home the work of these artisans. Open every day, however winter hours will vary, call ahead.