The Eastern Band of Cherokee: North America’s Largest Indian Tribe

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians was formed in the 1800’s to protect what was left of the tribe following the “voluntary” migration of the people and then the forced removal after the two year deadline. A deadline that was written into a treaty the Cherokee did not sign therefore was not binding to their way of thinking and according to their own law.

Over fifteen thousand Cherokee indians moved or were removed to west of the Mississippi leaving behind about one thousand of their kin to either hide in the mountains or hide behind the kindness of white men who knew the government was cheating them of their ancestral lands.

These thousand American Indians make up what is now an over ten thousand people tribe known as the Eastern Band of Cherokee. This is the name they do business with and market themselves to a public who finds their reservation in North Carolina a prime vacation area.

Tourism is the bread and butter for over sixty percent of the indians living on land held in trust for them by the United States government. Tourism equals economic security to these people and they are pretty good at creating the scene the public will pay to see.

The featured dramas and crafting areas have been ongoing for decades. Theatres built into the side of a mountain giving actors their place in the sun to display the life and death and rebirth of a people determined to keep their culture alive and if they make money doing that, then that’s just fine.

Ages ago the Cherokee were simple farmers and hunters. Civil and intelligent people, it’s no wonder they have survived and have grown into the largest indian tribe in North America. Many speak Cherokee as their first language.

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