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CHEROKEE, NC

The town of Cherokee is located at the south end of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Route 441, and is at the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. With plenty of interesting and fun activities such as museums, a casino, amusement parks, hiking trails, waterfalls, great trout fishing, tubing and whitewater rafting, scenic roads and highways, and a wide variety of shopping experiences, the town and surrounding areas are a favorite vacation destination for many motorcyclists.

Cherokee is home to the Cherokee Indians. Artifacts have been found to indicate that people lived in this area more than 11,000 years ago. There are actually ancient Cherokee tales that describe hunting the mastodons that foraged this area prior to their extinction. When the first Europeans came to this area in the 1500s, the Cherokee were a settled, agricultural people living in villages usually consisting of 30 to 60 cane and mud-plastered huts along with a large council house.

The Cherokee, living in western North Carolina, are the descendants of the Cherokee who were either able to hold on to their land or hid in the mountains when the U.S. Government marched over 16,000 Cherokee to Oklahoma in 1838. Somewhere between and a of the Cherokee died along the way on the Trail of Tears. Every night between the first of June and the end of August, one can attend "Unto These Hills", an outdoor drama that has been seen by almost six million people since the 1950s. Far different from the earlier days, today's shows better serve to portray the history of the Cherokees through the ions, through the zenith of their power, through the heartbreak of the Trail of Tears, to the present-day life of the Cherokee. For those interested in Cherokee history, there are several area museums that I highly recommend.

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