Sunday, 1 February 2015

The Cherokee

Visiting the Cherokee Nation

Since the 16th Century, when the Europeans first made contact with the Americas, the Cherokee were considered and identified as the most socially and culturally advanced amongst the Native American tribes. Today, the Cherokee Nation "is an active leader in education, housing, vocational training, business and economic development". As the largest Indian tribe in the US, the Cherokee have over 300,000 citizens and over 70,000 reside in a 7,000 square mile geographical area, which is not a reservation but a federally-recognised, truly sovereign nation. This is a radical step forward for the tribe that had not too long ago been deprived of any recognisable sovereign rights in the United States of America.

"Cherokees are not only a people of the past, but a people of the present and future."

This line, on the homepage of the attractions part of the website, portrays the Cherokee as a strong and everlasting tribe as on the same page it mentions the famous 'Trail of Tears'. It's an almost ominous sentence as it shows that the Cherokee are there to stay, they were there before the USA was established and will be long after. It seems that the tribe adapts to new surroundings by moving forward and bringing their rich heritage and traditions with them to their new home.

The tribe's transferable lifestyle allows them to thrive in any situation or location as they originated from the plains and now reside in the state of Oklahoma where they have secured sovereignty over their land and became recognisable as a nation. They advertise visiting them through the website with sections on their casinos, galleries, museums, gift shops and much more. This shows them as business-forward as they manage to exploit their history in a positive way to fund their future as a tribe. 

The pictures used on their website seem to highlight both the traditional and modern traits of the Cherokee tribe by advertising visiting their national heritage centre using pictures of their traditional housing. Their 'cultural tourism' picture shows both old and young members of the tribe in a mixture of native and modern dress, as if fusing together the past, present and future of their nation. This only seems to reinforce their ideas of "not only [being] a people of the past, but a people of the present and future". Their rich heritage only seems to continue as they develop and evolve in their new situations.


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