Cherokee Holiday Shopping and Gift Guide12.9.2019
This holiday season, give the gift of Cherokee arts and crafts, and support local Cherokee artists and businesses. We’ve curated a list of some of the best gifts you can find from four stores in Cherokee–each offering unique items, so that you can find something for everyone on your list! Whether you’re looking for traditional Cherokee crafts, or something with a modern twist, we’ve got you covered. Happy holiday shopping!
Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc.
Location: 645 Tsali Blvd., Cherokee, NC 28719 (Across the street from the Museum of the Cherokee Indian)
Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual, Inc. is the nation's oldest and foremost Native American arts and crafts cooperative, working to preserve and promote the traditional arts and crafts of the Eastern Band of Cherokee. Only the most talented artists show their work here. The organization began in 1946, and today it has over 250 juried artist members. Each piece is expertly handmade, including baskets, sculpture, pottery, weaving, jewelry, and more. Stop in to see for yourself, and make sure you check out the gallery in the back to see a timeline of Cherokee craft throughout the ages.
Your keys never looked so good! These beaded keychains ($24) by Dawn Jumper make an excellent stocking stuffer. Dawn learned beadwork from her parents, and she has passed down the craft to her own children. As you can see from her meticulous work, Dawn is a perfectionist. “I can be almost finished with a piece and if something is not lining up right, I will take it out and start again,” she says.
This print ($80) by Preston Bark pays homage to the ancient Cherokee game of stickball. Preston is a member of the Wolf Clan, and this print, which he penned in ink, illustrates the Wolftown players from the community where he was raised. Learn more about stickball, and how it was used to settle disputes, in our previous blog.
Shirley Taylor makes white oak baskets that she hand dyes with walnut and bloodroot. Her baskets have won ribbons at the Cherokee Fall Fair and are exhibited at the Mountain Heritage Center at Western Carolina University. Every basket she makes is a labor of love, and every step is completely hands on, from gathering the materials, to making splits and dyes, and weaving it all together. Shown here is her Cherokee White Oak Market Basket ($450), which is as functional as it is beautiful.
Museum of the Cherokee Indian Gift Store
Address: 589 Tsali Blvd, Cherokee, NC 28719
The Museum of the Cherokee Indian, named a “Best Native American Experience” by USA Today, shares the history of the Cherokee from 11,000 years ago to the present, in cutting edge exhibits, some of which were designed by Disney imagineers. It also has some of the best gift selections in town!
This washable paper tote bag ($22.99) is made from heavy-weight kraft material, and at 16 inches by 16 inches, it’s big enough to carry several other gifts you want to buy! One side shows the Museum of the Cherokee Indian spider logo, and the other side (shown above) features basketweave artwork by Mary Thompson. Can’t make it to the store? Buy it online.
The museum has the best, most comprehensive selection of books about Cherokee history, culture, and more. We couldn’t choose just one, so we selected a book bundle to satisfy all the readers in your family, from the tiniest on up!
Itse Selu Cherokee Harvest Festival ($8). Itse Selu celebrates the spirit of the ancient Cherokee culture. Join Little Wolf and his family as they prepare to celebrate Itse Selu, the harvest festival.
Living Stories of the Cherokee ($23) Featuring six Cherokee storytellers who learned their art and their stories from family and community, this collection presents 72 traditional and contemporary tales from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina. Winner of a 1999 Storytelling World Award and the 1998 Thomas Wolfe Literary Award.
Cherokee Heritage Trails Guidebook ($26). This guide introduces readers to the vibrant world of Cherokee heritage, with a look at important sites throughout the Cherokee homeland in western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and north Georgia. Co-author Barbara Duncan was the former Education Director of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. This book is a must-have when visiting Cherokee!
For many natives, the gift of a woolen blanket is a traditional way to honor and recognize special milestones. Pendleton has been manufacturing Indian trade blankets since 1909, and their blankets have been prized for ceremonial use. Shop the museum’s collection of Pendleton wool blankets ($269) and share the beauty and warmth with someone you love.
Address: 1098 Tsalagi Road Cherokee, North Carolina, 28719
Website: Facebook page only - www.facebook.com/QuallaCreations
Qualla Creations spotlights Cherokee artists, cultural attractions, and long-term community members. It’s operated by the Cherokee Historical Association, and features handmade goods made by employees of the Oconaluftee Indian Village, as well as other artists, in addition to cool merchandise you can’t find anywhere else. Be sure to stop in on your next Cherokee visit!
Say goodbye to throwaway coffee cups. This vacuum insulated stainless steel tumbler ($22) from Noon Day Sun features a traditional basket design and keeps your drink hot or cold, on the go. It also comes with a coffee sipper lid and a water bottle top.
Buffalotown was the name of a Cherokee town in the Robbinsville, NC, area. It is now the brand name of a company owned by two Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian members. They design and sell their apparel online such as the Buffalotown Statement Hoodie ($45) shown above, and their merchandise is exclusively featured in Qualla Creations.
Not only does this Fire Mountain shirt ($80) look fresh, but it supports Cherokee’s Fire Mountain Trails—a 10.5 mile multi-use network made to mountain bike, hike, or run. The trailhead is located about 100 yards from the Oconaluftee Indian Village in Cherokee and shares a parking lot. Trails are free of charge, and open every day, all day!
Location: (Online only)
Authentically Cherokee celebrates artists of the Qualla Boundary in North Carolina who work to preserve Cherokee culture in a contemporary way. Shop their online store (there is no physical location) and support small business in Indian country. Your purchase helps to promote and preserve the Cherokee culture and way of life.
Cherokee Syllabary Note Cards ($10); set of 7. These ivory cards feature the Cherokee syllabary and include the words “Hello,” “Create,” “Live,” “I Believe,” “Imagine,” and “Dream.” This set, by poet and writer Jody Bradley, is perfect for anyone who wants to send a message the Cherokee way.
This beaded stylus, adorned with skulls, shows how tradition can be mixed with modern functionality. This piece is handmade by Robbie Blankenship using Delica glass beads in peyote stitch.
Cherokee artist Rob Radford carved this wolf seashell necklace ($150) from a pearl shell measuring 2 3/16” round, and accented it with glass and turquoise beads. His work has been exhibited at the Asheville Art Museum and he has won several first-place ribbons for his ornamental work at the Cherokee Indian Fair.