Cherokee is a town in Swain County, North Carolina within the Qualla Boundary, the proper name of the Cherokee Indian (Eastern Band) Reservation.
This is the center of Cherokee culture in North Carolina (and indeed the eastern US). Many natives call this area home, the Cherokee language is also spoken by many in this area. The town was established by the Cherokee who stayed behind while the US Government forced them west in the Trail of Tears. Those who stayed behind hid in the mountains that now make up the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.
The Cherokee people lived in houses made of woven grass covered with mud, and after the European settlers arrived, log cabins.
Cherokee is one of the gateways to the "Great Smokey Mountains National Park", and it's economy is mainly tourism based. There is no "downtown" to Cherokee; the entire built up area is mainly composed of hotels and tourist shops selling "Indian" themed junk.
Cherokee is only accessible by mountain roads. Most visitors will come from the direction of Knoxville or Asheville.
Visit the Oconaluftee Indian Village and learn about Cherokee Native American culture. The tour takes you through various live demonstrations of Cherokee life, including two educational and informative talks.
There is also The Museum of the Cherokee Indian, which is a small, dimly lit affair mainly filled with arrow heads and pottery shards.
A popular attraction in Cherokee is Harrah's Casino, which is owned by the local Cherokee tribe. There are a limited number of other attractions in the area, most of which are related either to Indian culture or natural landmarks.
There are several locally owned restaurants offering typical American food, but sadly no Native American food. The town panders to it's primary tourist base who tend to be Southern Americans.
Please click on the image for pictures.