There is a place in Western North Carolina where you can step back in time for a cultural experience to learn how the Cherokee Indians dressed, worshipped, and lived in 1760. With working historical artisans, cultural dances, and traditional Cherokee dwellings and buildings, the Oconoluftee Indian Village in Cherokee, North Carolina brings history to life.
For Mother’s Day last year my husband took the kids and me on a field trip to Cherokee, NC. I know. I’m a nerd. A history nerd who loves the mountains. My man knows exactly how to make me happy.
We started at the dance grounds where we watched multiple traditional Cherokee dances.
We took a guided tour through the village learning how tools, beadwork, baskets and pottery were made. We watched a blow dart demonstration at the weapons exhibit. I loved talking to the men, who were hulling a canoe, and learning how they were made. The canoes were vital for their vast trade routes. We talked to a woman at the cabins who told us of the amazing number of natural cures the Cherokee used. We learned how the matrilineal line worked in the Cherokee culture. It was refreshing to hear that, instead of men inheriting and owning property, that right was traditionally given to the women.
I enjoyed listening to the lady at the council house, who explained the Cherokee governing body. She also talked of how the Eastern Band of Cherokee escaped the Trail of Tears. We walked to the dance grounds where we heard a lecture on Cherokee tradition and religion.
The Oconoluftee Indian Village is the place to go when you want to see and experience the things you’ve always read and heard about in history books. The village brings to life the beauty of the Cherokee culture and people.