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Oconaluftee Indian Village, Cherokee

(4.1/5 based on 600+ reviews on the web)
Oconaluftee Indian Village showcases the history of the Cherokee people and the impact that European settlers had on custom and culture. Surrounded by tall oaks and sycamores, this 1760s style living-history village is accessible through snaking paths. You can tour the dwellings, sacred areas, and work sites. Be prepared to encounter townspeople and craftspeople who have stories to tell. You'll learn about traditional medicine-making and interact with craftspeople as they hull canoes. Witness the village prepare for war, and see a blowgun demonstration. You'll have the opportunity to observe cultural dances and talk with the townspeople as they make pottery and masks, do beadwork, and weave baskets. Make Oconaluftee Indian Village a part of your Cherokee vacation plans using our Cherokee vacation planner.
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Plans in Cherokee by other users

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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • It was so interesting there is so much to learn about the Cherokee people and their way of life. They are completely different from the Plains Indians . Their culture was so different from what I had ...  more »
  • My 11 year old son and I visited the Oconaluftee Indian Village after visiting the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. We got to see part of a performance of dancing while waiting for our tour to begin. At...  more »
  • We went the second to last weekend that they were open in November. (Their dates of operation are clearly stated on their website.) I was not sure what to expect given the fact that it was late in the...  more »
Google
  • This is one of those "been there, done that"-type of attractions. If you're looking to learn about the Cherokee, visit the Museum of the Cherokee. This place is overpriced for what they have to offer, but I was nevertheless happy to pay the $19 (each) admission fee to help keep them in business; that said, I hope that the employees are getting a fair wage for their (undoubtedly boring) efforts. I was last here 60 years earlier, as a young boy, and I was unimpressed even then (albeit for different reasons). Then, the Cherokee natives [I assumed] giving the description of each exhibit/site and artistic activity were seemingly authentic and obviously knew what they were talking about. Our group's guide was clearly reciting a rather-poorly-memorized talking script, and had to be corrected (in a clear Southern drawl) by the "artists" who were supposedly to mostly remain silent during the "talk." The site seems to be not so well-maintained (not surprising), and many things were in an obvious state of disrepair (that could have easily been fixed). Be sure to watch out where you park if you come in late September or early October, as the acorns falling from the very tall oak trees WILL leave dents in your vehicle or break windshields. We saw one in our group get hit on the forearm by a falling acorn, with the result of a minor, but nonetheless blood-gushing laceration on her forearm. Others were hit on their head (including several bald ones) with very painful, if not similar, results. So be sure to bring a hat. If your eyes are sensitive to wood smoke, also be careful, as there are about a half-dozen wood fires around the pathway you will need to stroll. It's barely suitable for powered wheelchairs or motorized personal transports, and some areas are, no doubt, inaccessible thereto. Children will be interested in some of the exhibit sites, but too many things are in the category of "don't touch" so the youngest or those whose behavior cannot be well controlled will be reprimanded. Some of the very old artifacts on exhibit are delicate and obviously precious, so be warned (you can't handle them, either). It will take as much as an hour at the slow pace the groups obviously have to take. But you can walk ahead and join another group, or lay back and get the next one; we did that because our native guide was, in our opinion, completely unsuitable for public talking. We did find one that was actually competent and knowledgeable, who could answer even the most tactless and ignorant questions from folks, but the portion of the sites where the guide actually him/herself talks is only a subset of what there is to see. Finding the place (it's not obvious where you have to drive to get to it), getting there, parking somewhere safe, getting your tickets, waiting for a large enough group to accumulate, and then waiting for the group ahead of you to move on along far enough that your group can even start, and then walking (and standing) around for up to an hour, all will take as much as 2 to 2.5 hours, so be prepared to be underwhelmed for what must surely be less than a handful of interesting things to see (and learn). Avoid it if possible (go to the Museum instead, which itself is underwhelming if you have any knowledge whatsoever of what happened to the Cherokee natives).
  • Living history. Friendly and knowledgeable staff make it a perfect experience. The dancers were quite entertaining. Be sure to your the botanical gardens too.
  • Went in the afternoon. Not real crowded. So you could take your time and enjoy it. The people doing the demonstrations were talented, very informative and friendly.
  • Awesome place I learned alot taking the tour. It so cool to see how people used to do things
  • A little pricy but we'll worth it. Guided foot tour includes quite a few craftsmen and women all very friendly and willing to answer your questions. All staff vertical friendly and knowledable.

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