Southeastern tribes share traditions

CHEROKEE, N.C. – The Indian Removal Act of 1830 required that all American Indian tribes be removed from the southeast.

Now they’re back for a two-day event that celebrates the revitalization of their ancient traditions.

The 4th Annual Southeastern Tribes Cultural Arts Celebration, Sept. 18 – 19, reunites people from the original American Indian tribes of the southeast, on the ancestral sacred ground of the Cherokees in the Great Smoky Mountains. Visitors can share in dances, food, stories, games, crafts, living history encampments and Native languages during a special reunion that’s open to the public.

For the first time, the event will include a 5-kilometer fun run, also open to the public. Visitors are advised to bring lawn chairs to enjoy watching dancing on the grass at the Cherokee Indian Fair Grounds.

Participating tribes include the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Seminole Tribe, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Cherokee Nation and United Keetoowah Band. The event is sponsored by the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Cherokee Preservation Foundation, North Carolina Arts Council, and Qualla Arts and Crafts.

Master of ceremonies Rob Daugherty of the Cherokee Nation presides at events throughout Indian country and will emcee the event in English and Cherokee.

The Southeastern Tribes Cultural Art Celebration is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for arts and crafts demonstrations; and from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. for dance and storytelling performances. Adult daily admission is $7; $5 for children and includes evening performances. Admission for evening performances only is $5 for adults, $3 for children. Special group rates are available for schools on Friday by contacting Eddie Swimmer at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian (828) 497-3481, ext. 202 or eswimmer@cherokeemuseum.org. For more information visit www.cherokee-nc.com/southeasterntribes.

Cherokee, N.C., presents one of the most significant and culturally authentic events in the United States, rich in elaborate Native American ceremony, regalia, Native song and dance, traditional arts and crafts, legends and historic traditions.

Affordable cultural attractions include the 60th anniversary of the outdoor drama “Unto These Hills” performed at the open-air Mountainside Theater, the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Oconaluftee Indian Village and the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual.

Cherokee, N.C. was named 2006 Travel Attraction of the Year by the Southeast Tourism Society. For more information about Cherokee, visit www.cherokee-nc.com or call (800) 438-1601.

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