Experience 18th-Century Cherokee: The Oconaluftee Indian Village Opens for the Season on April 184.12.2017
Ever wish you could return to a point in history and catch a glimpse of what life was like for people during that time? A special cultural attraction in Cherokee, NC, makes such time traveling possible! At the Oconaluftee Indian Village, guests can explore an historical Cherokee village, watch award-winning artists in action, and learn about traditional dance through living exhibit demonstrations. This beloved experience will reopen for the 2017 season on April 18. Whether you’ve visited before or this is your first time, there is so much to see and do!
A Cherokee cultural expert in 1750s attire will lead you on an interactive journey. “The first half of the Village consists of a 20- to 30-minute guided tour through the craft demonstration area,” says Laura Blythe, Program Director at Cherokee Historical Association. “The living history section in the lower half of the Village is all self guided, however there are historical interpreters to enhance the experience. In this section of the Village there are lectures on the Square Grounds and in the Council House.”
Dance & The Time of War Series
Running from June 15–August 19, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, Time of War is a re-enactment based around an event in Cherokee history. Cherokee people perform as characters for the live entertainment show. The highlight is the battle scene that takes place on the Square Grounds between Cherokee warriors and their opposition. Scenes run at 11 a.m., noon, and 1 p.m. with an encore of the battle scene at 3 p.m.
A variety of social dances are open to the public, such as Bear, Horse, Beaver, and Knee-deep. These are performed on the Square Grounds (where people can learn about traditional songs and dance, clan systems, and beliefs). During certain times of the season they are performed daily, but when Time of War takes place, they run every other day.
Learn about traditional Cherokee arts. Mediums include beadwork, fingerweaving, pottery, woodcarving, basketry, and weaponry, among others. Techniques and uses for each are explained in guided tours. All crafts that are demonstrated in the Village are sold in the craft shop. Each item is labeled with the artist who made it.
Be sure to stick around for the blowgun demonstration!
How Much Wildlife Can You Spot?
People aren’t the only movers and shakers in the Village. Visitors have seen turkeys, bears, groundhogs, squirrels, and trout (in the pond). Native plants include touch-me-not and cucumber trees, among others. The rhododendron and mountain laurel are typically in full bloom in June.
A half-mile natural trail near the Village features the Botanical Gardens. It’s free and open to anyone who would enjoy a peaceful stroll in the woods. It is not wheelchair accessible. A cabin on the trail is surrounded by an heirloom garden.
Hours of Operation
April 18–29, Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
May 1–31, Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
June 1–August 19, Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
August 20–September 30, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4.pm.
October 1–20, Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
October 24 to November 11, Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Schedules goes with the flow of traffic and seasonal weather patterns. The Village is located near the Mountainside Theater, 218 Drama Road. Admission prices are $15 for adults, $10 for children.
Guided tours run every 15 minutes. With purchase of a ticket, guests are free to explore and hop on any tour throughout the day. The lectures on the Square Grounds and in the Council House run on 30-minute intervals all day long.
The Oconaluftee Indian Village is presented by the Cherokee Historical Association, a nonprofit organization in the Cherokee Cultural District. Their mission is to “perpetuate and preserve the history and culture of the Cherokee People.” They also produce the renowned outdoor drama Unto These Hills, which operates June 3–August 19.
For more information about upcoming Indian Village events, and to buy tickets for the Indian Village or Unto These Hills, click here.