Journey Back in Time at the Oconaluftee Indian Village10.3.2016
The Oconaluftee Indian Village in Cherokee, NC, is so much more than a place. It’s a total experience; a living history museum that allows you to journey back in time and see what life was actually like in a Cherokee village in the 18th century.
As soon as you step onto the grounds of the Village, you’re transported to a different place and time. The staff—who are all from Cherokee or the surrounding area—are dressed as villagers, wearing native clothing that was typical of Cherokee in the late 1700s, such as loose cloth tops, breechcloths, and leggings for the men, and peasant-style tops and wraparound skirts for the women. Some villagers are adorned with colorful handwoven belts, and jewelry including beaded necklaces, some with hammered coins or metal pendants.
Live Demonstrations, Living Off the Land
A friendly tour guide, also in native dress, will lead you around the village, stopping at various stations that demonstrate the ancient Cherokee way of life and how they lived off the land, making what they needed from natural materials found in their environment. Live demonstrations show how Cherokee used clay from the riverbanks to make pottery, strips of rivercane and white oak to make baskets, and dyed natural fibers to weave colorful belts. Weapons like arrowheads were fashioned from flint, and blow darts were made using thistle and rivercane.
The villagers leading these demonstrations are all Cherokee artisans demonstrating traditions that have been passed down through the generations. After each demonstration, the tour guide will pause with ample time for visitors to ask questions, and to lean in and take a closer look or even touch the handcrafted objects.
Wander, Explore, and Ask Questions
Visitors can then walk through the rest of the ancient Cherokee world, amid ancient oaks and sycamore trees, in a village setting with wood cabins and mud and straw dwellings that are open to enter and explore. A fire is tended with smoke gently wafting through the village. At every turn, Cherokee villagers are there to answer your questions, or to explain other ancient ways of life, like how Cherokee used to make dugout canoes using hardwood trees, fire, and an axe.
Each day at noon and 3 p.m., visitors can gather in the center of the Village, for a performance that illustrates traditional Cherokee song and dance. It all concludes with the Friendship Dance, an open invitation for visitors and audience members to join in and celebrate the spirit of the Cherokee.
Hours of Operation
Open from April 12, 2016 until November 12, 2016
Open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm with tours every 15 minutes except from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm and 2:30 p to 3:30 p.m. The last tour is given at 4:00 p.m. Closed on Sunday.
Please note: Starting October 24th the Village is closed on Mondays, open Tuesday-Saturday from 10am-3pm, with full tours and only one dance performance at 1 pm each day.
Oconaluftee Indian Village is located at 218 Drama Road, Cherokee, NC.