Today, members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians continue to honor and cultivate the traditions which have guided their culture for thousands of years. The Qualla Boundary, as it has been known for generations, is a small fragment of the extensive historical homeland of the Cherokee.
Many of the traditions of the Cherokee people influenced the development of a larger Southern Appalachian culture. From here visitors are offered a long-range view of the Ravensfork Valley of the Oconaluftee River.
Archaeological and ethno historical evidence indicates a human presence in this area of nearly 12,000 years. In the Big Cove Community below, early members of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians farmed next to immigrant settlers into the 1870s, when the area became part of the larger Qualla Boundary.
In Cherokee, visitors have the chance to see traditional crafts in the making, hear the ancient stories, and learn about the history of this vibrant, resilient people with visits to the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, the Qualla Arts and Crafts Co-op, and the Oconaluftee Indian Village.
Left Photo Caption
Illustration of typical Cherokee village, Woodland period settlement, ca. A.D. 350. Villages such as these were located throughout the Southern Appalachian mountains.
Qualla Boundary in the background.Photo Caption
Noted Cherokee basket maker Nancy Bradley, from a W.M. Cline postcard ca. 1937. Some claim that Nancy was one of the only two basket weavers who kept the Cherokee double weave tradition alive.
Right Photo Caption
Cherokee High School student Hannah Youngdeer learns the tradition of basket making using techniques handed down through generations.