Cherokee Days Festival Underway at the National Museum of the American Indian

Historic Event Brings two Cherokee tribes together to celebrate "Cherokee Days"

Historic Event Brings two Cherokee tribes together to celebrate “Cherokee Days”

Cherokee Days Festival – April 3 – 5 

WASHINGTON – The Cherokee Nation and the Eastern Band will share their story that spans history from the Trail of Tears to the successes of the modern tribes during Cherokee Days at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. beginning today, April 3 through Saturday, April 5.

The Cherokee Days program includes a three-day festival featuring food, dance, music, demonstrations, films, and hands-on activities.

National Museum of the American Indian in Washington

National Museum of the American Indian in Washington

The National Museum of the American Indian is open from 10:00 a.m – 5:30 p.m. and located at Fourth Street and Independence on the National Mall in Washington.

The Cherokee Days program includes an exhibit showcasing a timeline of historical milestones, live cultural art demonstrations and scheduled cultural performances.

“Partnering with the National Museum of the American Indian is a significant opportunity to showcase Cherokee heritage and history at a national level. We will showcase our cultural artisans and historians from the Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker.

“It is important for the Cherokee Nation to participate in this unique event with our Cherokee brothers and sisters. We all come from one fire and we are one people. While we were once divided, today we are unified and our respective sovereign governments are stronger than ever. A critical part of our cultural preservation is embracing and sharing our rich and storied narrative in America’s history and its future.”

Cherokees originally inhabited the lands in what are now present-day Tennessee, North Carolina, Alabama and Georgia. Following the 1838 forced removal of 16,000 Cherokees to present-day Oklahoma, many defied the relocation and remained in North Carolina.

The Cherokees forced along the Trail of Tears were led by Principal Chief John Ross. They established Tahlequah as the Cherokee Nation’s capital in 1839. The Eastern Band, which resides in Cherokee, North Carolina, became federally recognized in 1868.

In 1984, the tribes met in Red Clay, Tennessee, for the first time since the tribe was divided. During the last 30 years, the Cherokee Nation and Eastern Band have worked together on numerous projects, including maintaining a unified language.

“Cherokee Days at the National Museum of the American Indian is a great event for us because we can come together with our family, the Cherokee Nation, to celebrate our shared history and heritage,” said Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Michell Hicks. “Our tribes have been meeting for more than 25 years to collaborate on issues important to our people, and this event is another opportunity for that collaboration to continue.”

A diverse and multifaceted cultural and educational enterprise, the National Museum of the American Indian is an active and visible component of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum complex. The NMAI cares for one of the world’s most expansive collections of Native artifacts, including objects, photographs, archives and media covering the entire Western Hemisphere, from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego.

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