“The land to me is very sacred, and we should all think of it as being sacred – any land, all land out there…”
– Marie Junaluska
Cherokee and the Qualla Boundary provide a unique opportunity to visit Cherokee people where they live, work, and raise their families. In this nation-within-a nation, about nine thousand members of the Eastern Band maintain their culture and their communities on a small remnant of their ancestral homelands. Despite entrance signs and a North Carolina historical highway marker describing this as the “Cherokee Indian Reservation,” this land is not a reservation because the Cherokee people themselves own the land, about sixty thousand acres that the federal government holds in trust.
When you visit the town of Cherokee, you will find tribal members working as bankers, business owners, managers, police officers, EMT’s, schoolteachers, nurses, homemakers, and clerks, as well as basket makers and storytellers. Day by day they continue to balance modern life with Cherokee traditions. Many individuals dedicate their lives to carrying on Cherokee traditions and passing them to the next generation. The whole community remains close-knit despite the presence of millions of visitors every year from fifty U.S. states and dozens of foreign countries. In fact, the Cherokee community continues to welcome visitors – not just a legacy from century of tourism, but a heritage from the oldest Cherokee values: respecting differences and including outsiders…
For an in-depth look at each one of the interpretive centers along the Cherokee Heritage Trails, including complete articles and quotes, detailed information on all the historical sites, amazing full color photography depicting the land and its people, stories from many of the Cherokee Elders and much more about the wonderful Cherokee culture, make the Cherokee Heritage Trails Guidebook a part of your personal library.