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Cultural Tourism

Quick tour of Cherokee’s cultural attractions (2:21)



Quick tour of Cherokee’s cultural attractions (2:21)

People who come to Cherokee to learn about Cherokee culture discover what life was like in the 1760s when they visit Oconaluftee Indian Village

Tourism is a principal driver of the economy on the Qualla Boundary, even as economic diversification takes place.  Cherokee Preservation Foundation has invested $17 million over the past decade to help the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians continually improve the Tribe’s principal cultural attractions, mount an award-winning marketing campaign to attract visitors interested in experiencing authentic Cherokee culture, and improve the marketing capacity of the organizations.

Four principal cultural attractions bring thousands of visitors to Cherokee, NC, each year – the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual, the Oconaluftee Indian Village, and “Unto These Hills,” a play that retells the Trail of Tears and explains how the ancestors of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians managed to avoid the forced removal.  The Village and the drama are operated by Cherokee Historical Association.

Multiple grants from Cherokee Preservation Foundation have helped each of these wonderful organizations develop business plans to ensure their long-term sustainability, improve and expand their programming and make it more culturally authentic, significantly upgrade and expand their facilities, improve operating systems, and provide opportunities for the development of their staffs and boards.

The Foundation has also helped the cultural entities partner with the EBCI Marketing and Promotion Department, the Sequoyah National Golf Club, EBCI Transit, EBCI Fish & Game, and the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce to produce a distinctive, culture-based marketing campaign oriented toward attracting both families and visitors who want a high-quality cultural experience when they visit Cherokee.  Those experiences include special festivals funded by the Foundation, including the Cherokee Art Market in July, the Festival of Native Peoples in August and the Southeastern Tribes Arts Festival in September.  These partners have formed the Greater Cherokee Tourism Council and one of their initial actions has been to improve their marketing capacity by participating in a Cherokee Marketing College funded by the Foundation.

Support from the Foundation to the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce makes possible the Cherokee Friends – EBCI members in traditional tribal dress who welcome visitors and provide information to them.

The Foundation makes these investments because when visitors come to Cherokee and have a wonderful time, they spend on lodging, food, gifts and entertainment, and that benefits the local community.  And just as important, the work of the principal cultural attractions enables the EBCI to preserve and celebrate its Cherokee heritage.

For More Information

For grant information, contact Charlie Myers at 828/497-5550 or at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

To talk to grantees heading cultural tourism organizations, contact:

Vicki Cruz, Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual, at 828/497-3103 or at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
Ken Blankenship, Museum of the Cherokee Indian, at 828/497-3491 or at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
John Tissue, Cherokee Historical Association, at 828/497-2111 or at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
Robert Jumper, EBCI Travel and Promotion, at 828/554-6482 or at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .