The Oconaluftee Indian Village and Living History Museum portrays an eighteenth century Cherokee village on a large site on the mountainside above the town of Cherokee. Once you are at the Village, you will see that it’s more than just a place. It is also a time: 1759.
With a self-guided or guided tour, experience traditional medicine and interact with villagers as they hull canoes, make pottery and masks, weave baskets and beadwork, and participate in their daily activities. They work in a setting of natural beauty and authentic reconstructions of Cherokee architecture. Walk along the village's paths, among streams and rhododendrons, taking you to houses constructed of woven saplings plastered with mud, early log cabins, and brush arbors. Your tour includes stops at a council house and dance grounds, where guides lecture on Cherokee history, culture, language, government, and traditions. You can also visit a nineteenth century cabin and Cherokee garden.
The Village also hosts live reenactments, interactive demonstrations and “Hands-On Cherokee” arts and crafts classes. Oconaluftee Indian Village is open May-October and located adjacent to Unto These Hills outdoor drama.
Much in the same way that they made their baskets, the Cherokee built their houses by weaving limber twigs and cane through firm upright posts. Over these surfaces, the builders plastered a mixture of grass and weeds folded into smooth clay. Their roofs were similar woven constructions, covered with bark and thatch. To soften their oak beds beneath the buffalo and beaver skins, the women would place feathery boughs of hemlock and broomsage.
A distinctly beautiful craft of the Cherokee women is finger weaving. Before the introduction of yarn, the Cherokee people used the inner fibers of Indian hemp and fibers of the mulberry root to make thread for this type of weaving.
Also visit the nearby Museum of the Cherokee and the Festival of Native Peoples.
Cherokee is just 50 miles from Asheville via I-40 West to Exit 27, then U.S. 19 to U.S. 441 in Cherokee (One hour drive).
Download a PDF map of Cherokee.