Learn the History of Cherokees at Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian

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All three Cherokee tribes partnering April 10-12 for ‘Cherokee Days’

Gabriel Beaver plays in the water as Danielle Culp and Janelle Adair watch him. All three participate at Cherokee Heritage Center’s Diligwa, an ancient village that represents life in 1710.

Preserving our culture means sharing it with the next generation, and that’s what we will be doing as we showcase our talented artisans and highly respected historians at the Smithsonian Institution. - Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker

One year after hosting a highly successful event at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., the Cherokee Nation, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians are again partnering to host “Cherokee Days.”

The public educational program is April 10-12 and includes an exhibit showcasing a timeline of historical milestones, live cultural art demonstrations and scheduled cultural performances. Among the activities is a make-and-take experience, which allows children to create traditional Cherokee items.

The three Cherokee tribes will share the Cherokee story that spans time immemorial to the Trail of Tears to the successes of the modern tribes.

“It’s an honor to return to the National Museum of the American Indian with our brothers and sisters from the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “Gathering collectively in the nation’s capital for Cherokee Days is a special collaboration for all of us because it features three distinct tribal governments. However, we all have a shared connection and shared history. We truly come from one fire.

“Preserving our culture means sharing it with the next generation, and that’s what we will be doing as we showcase our talented artisans and highly respected historians at the Smithsonian Institution.”

Cherokees originally inhabited the lands in what are now present-day Tennessee, North Carolina, Alabama and Georgia. Following the 1838 forced removal of 16,000 Cherokees to present-day Oklahoma, many defied the relocation and remained in North Carolina.

The Cherokees forced along the Trail of Tears were led by Principal Chief John Ross. They established Tahlequah as the Cherokee Nation’s capital in 1839. The Eastern Band, which resides in Cherokee, North Carolina, became federally recognized in 1868.

In 1984, the tribes met in Red Clay, Tennessee, for the first time since the tribe was divided. During the last 30 years, the Cherokee Nation and Eastern Band have worked together on numerous projects, including maintaining a unified language.

“Our people were separated by miles forcefully; however, we have survived as a distinct people,” said Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Principal Chief Michell Hicks. “We look forward to sharing our culture and history with the diverse audience of the Smithsonian Institution as much as we cherish the opportunity to visit and celebrate with our fellow Cherokees. It is my hope that our communities can provide an experience for visitors that will be unlike any other in the nation’s capital.”

“It is gratifying for the United Keetoowah Cherokees to come to the National Museum of the American Indian as a living culture, one whose history is still in the making, and one whose vibrant people still inhabit the lands of their ancestors,” said United Keetoowah Band Principal Chief George Wickliffe. “It is with humility and pleasure that we share our history, our culture and our traditions with the people of Washington, D. C., and the communities of the National Museum of the American Indian.”

A diverse and multifaceted cultural and educational enterprise, the National Museum of the American Indian is an active and visible component of the Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest museum complex. The NMAI cares for one of the world's most expansive collections of native objects, including photographs, paper and photo archives and media covering the entire Western Hemisphere, from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego.

For more information, visit http://www.AmericanIndian.si.edu.

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Editor's note: Find all the latest Cherokee Nation news at http://www.anadisgoi.com.

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Tim Landes
Cherokee Nation Businesses
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