The Museum of The Cherokee Indian
A twenty-foot, hand-carved statue of Sequoyah, the inventor of the Cherokee alphabet is at the Museum’s entrance
Wax statues of Anglicized Cherokee from inside the Museum of the Cherokee.
Moosehide and loon quill Cherokee costume
Display of Cherokee Artifacts
"Cherokee Heritage Trails Guidebook"
"Cherokee History, Myths, and Sacred Formulas" book
Backstory and Context
Take a step back in the time of the Cherokee Indians, the Qualla Boundary is known as the home of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. In the 1800’s, because Cherokee people do not live on the land that given by the federal government, the tribal members had purchased 57,000 acres of property to settle down , which is called the Qualla Boundary. The Qualla Boundary is owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee.The Qualla Boundary “ is located in western North Carolina adjacent to the southern end of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The main part of the Boundary lies in eastern Swain County and northern Jackson County, but there are many smaller non-contiguous sections to the southwest in Cherokee County and Graham County. A very small part of the Qualla Boundary extends eastward into Haywood County. There are more than 13,300 enrolled members of EBCI and approximately 60% live on the Qualla Boundary” (1).In the early 1800’s, the Cherokee did adapt to the tribal governing structure with a written constitution. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians was formed, Cherokee courts and schools were established afterward. This was very important for Cherokee to built up a stable legal system and education system. In 1821, Written Cherokee language was invented by Sequoyah who is a Cherokee scholar. After that, the Cherokee language newspaper began publishing in 1828. However, Cherokee’s culture was based on the European culture, so the allied relationship between the federal government of the United States and the Cherokee nation was no longer important to maintain. In 1838, Cherokee people was threatened to be removed from their area because of the government’s desire for more land and Georgia gold. Therefore, more than 16,000 native people were marched to against the government’s desire. this became known as Trail of Tears and relocated to Oklahoma. The outcome of this march was between 25% and 50% of the Cherokee tribe died on the Trail of Tears.
Long time after the bad outcome of the march, the descendant of Trail of Tears survivors lives in modern day of Western North Carolina. And some descendant of the Cherokee who managed to protect their land and did not march. Finally, under the 1819 treaty the Cherokee people were allowed to remain and take their land. Therefore 1850, the population of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians was approximately 1,000. And in the present date, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is known as a sovereign nation with over 14,000 members.
With the mission to preserve and reconstruct the culture, history and stories of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the museum of Cherokee Indians was built and located in Graham County, Cherokee City, NC. To accomplish the mission, the museum of Cherokee Indians maintains the permanent exhibit which is including the Paleo Period- Archaic Period and Mississippian Period, and the traveling exhibits: Emissaries of Peace and Trail of Tears Photography Exhibit with unique collections artifacts, documenting endangered language and archives.The museum of Cherokee Indian installs the new exhibit with the interactive video, intriguing displays, and a full sensory experience. This is known as the combine of computer-generated imagery. This system is worth $3.5 million dollar for telling the story of Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians from twelve thousand years ago until the present date. Beside that the museum of Cherokee Indians also offer the education program and outreach associated with several interesting program such as Cherokee archaeology, history, anthropology, folklore, literature, and geography. Come and visit there to enjoy the new and unique experience.