Native American Heritage Day at Cherokee Museum Offers Free Activities for Everyone | Cherokee, NC

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Native American Heritage Day at Cherokee Museum Offers Free Activities for Everyone

Honoring the contributions, achievements, legacies, and sacrifices of the Native people, November was first recognized as National Native American Heritage Month in 1990. Each year since, specially planned educational programs across the country aim to inform and inspire people about the rich and diverse culture of indigenous populations.

Fun Meets Education at the Museum

While the official Native American Heritage Day falls on the Friday after Thanksgiving, we are celebrating early in Cherokee, NC. On Saturday, November 12, the Museum of the Cherokee Indian will host a day of fun activities from Cherokee traditions. Sponsored by the North Carolina Arts Council and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, this event—free and open to the public—welcomes guests of all ages.

“We hope that people will come and bring their families to enjoy the day and learn a little more about Cherokee culture,” says Barbara R. Duncan, Education Director at the Museum. “They can meet Cherokee people who know a lot about their traditions, who really enjoy talking with visitors.” Attendees can participate in activities, demonstrations, and traditional dance.

Free Workshops, Demonstrations, and Dance Performances

Richard Saunooke leads a wampum and moccasin making workshop from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Museum lobby. At 11 a.m. in front of the Museum, children and adults will enjoy a hands-on workshop “Kids’ Archaeology: Dig, Sort, Sift!” led by Lauren Crowe, who earned a Master’s Degree from William and Mary College. In the art studio at noon and again at 2 p.m., Bernadine George will teach others how to make traditional stamped Cherokee pottery. Participants can take their creations home with them.

From 1–3 p.m., Cherokee Friends Michael Crowe, Sonny Ledford, and Jarrett Wildcatt will demonstrate the atlatl (a tool that helps achieve greater velocity in dart-throwing) and blowgun (weapon for firing light projectiles or darts). They will also demonstration the ancient game of chunkey in which participants roll disc-shaped stones across the ground and throw spears or slender poles at them, hoping to either hit the stone or land as close to the stopped stone as possible.

Then, from 3–4 p.m. in the multipurpose room, the Cherokee Friends will perform traditional dance and encourage audience participation. Cherokee Friends’ activities are made possible by a grant from the Cherokee Preservation Foundation.  

Details on the Event

Activities are free, but exhibit admittance is regularly priced ($11 for adults, $7 for children ages 6–13, and free for children age 5 and under). The Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

The Museum of the Cherokee Indian is located at 589 Tsali Boulevard in downtown Cherokee, at the intersection of Highway 441 and Drama Road. For more information, call 828.497.3481 or visit

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