Cherokee Experience the Land and the People
The new turtle shell rattles you made sound crisp and ready for the Green Corn Dance. But first you must greet this day as you greet every day. Your whole village gathers on the banks of the Oconaluftee. All enter the water, face east, and pray to the seven directions, the four cardinal points, the sky, the earth, and the center or spirit. You give thanks for the new day, and wash away any feelings separating you from your family, neighbors, or the Creator. This is duyuktv ‘the right way,’ the Cherokee Way.
When you visit Cherokee, North Carolina, you can almost imagine yourself living this way. Here, the same mountains where the Cherokees have maintained their traditions for generations surround you. People who proudly preserve a culture far older than the new nation that surrounds them, welcome you.
The Cherokees believe that they have always lived in Western North Carolina. Indeed, finely crafted stone tools and fluted spear-points confirm that ancient people lived here more than 11,000 years ago, at the end of the last Ice Age. Ancient Cherokee tales describe hunts of the mastodons that once foraged through the upland spruce and fir.
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