Oconaluftee Indian Village

Fascinating tour of this Village with Cherokee performing or describing their crafts, and lifestyle.

Started the tour observing craft demonstrations of weaving, pottery, mask making, and weaponry.

These weaved garments are worn around the waist and can be used in ceremony or with normal dress.

Pottery Maker
Mask Maker

Medicine Man House

This House could be used for storage or as a hospital. The Cherokee planted medicinal herbs on the roof of the house and used the herbs for teas or vapor to cure the ill.

Inside the medicine man’s house

The 1540 House

This was the earliest house on the tour. Used only for sleeping or when cold, it was constructed by a weave of sticks with clay, and animal fat packed on top of the weave. Construction time was from 1 day to 1 month.

I found the most interesting part of the tour were lectures by the Cherokees. Some points they made:

  • Dancing was not done for fun, it was to give thanks, or if going to war for protection.
  • The Eagle Dance conducted in Unto the Hills was for peace, victory, and thanks to the bird who gave its wings.
  • When the man married he joined his wife’s clan.
  • Females married at 15 or 16, males at 17.
  • Should the marriage not work, the wife put the husband’s clothes outside the cabin and he returned to his mother’s clan.
  • Cherokee never lived in tepees.
  • Smallpox took half the Cherokee population when the European’s arrived.
  • Democracy began with the Cherokee. They have a president, vice president, and 14 council members. They vote every 2 years for council members, and every 4 years for president. Currently, they are undergoing a campaign, and signs for those running were posted throughout the area.
  • The Council House was built in the middle of the Village to fit the entire community. Each clan had its own section.
  • If a feather is dropped someone will, or does die according to their beliefs.
  • The Cherokee is the most peaceful of all tribes.
  • The diet of the Cherokee is agricultural with the main crop the 3 Sisters – corn, beans, and squash, only 20% meat.
  • In 1924, the Cherokee became American citizens. They are a Sovereign Nation, however, do vote in American elections.

Other Attractions at the Village..

Due to covid the dances at noon and 3 have been cancelled as have evening bonfires. Masks remain encouraged at the Village. There is a gift shop on site with Cherokee made products. Prices are reasonable, however some items, such as baskets, are expensive due to the handwork involved.

Call for updates on Village changes 828-497-2111.

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