Cherokee, NC: Gambling, Pow Wows and Pick ups

Great Smokey Mountain National Park

We’ve had pot luck dinners and country music in Flagstaff, Arizona. We’ve  enjoyed Canadian bag pipers and a parade lead by a goat in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. But our most memorable 4th of July was in Cherokee, North Carolina.  It’s near the Great Smokey Mountain National Park, one of our favorite places. At first glance that was about the only thing Cherokee  had going for it.  The town pretty much consists of indian-themed gift shops, Harrah’s Casino and fast food places.

The RV park was crowded  as people poured in for the holiday weekend. Lot’s of kids on bikes. Every other site seemed to have a yappy dog. The favorite past time appeared to be loading all the kids and dogs into the back of a pick up truck and driving around the camp, spewing a stream of dust in their wake.  $8 a day for  plodding internet access was the icing on the cake.

What made the weekend bearable was being able to escape into the solitude of  Smoky Mountain National Park for some hiking and picnicing and also the Indian Nation Pow Wow we attended. Tribal history says the Cherokee have been at home in the Great Smokey Mountain territory of western North Carolina for 11,000 years. That means the celebration we saw was relatively new.  The Eastern band  of the Cherokee Indians is a separate tribe from the more populous Cherokee Nation of Oaklahoma. The Eastern band is made up largely of Cherokees who evaded the U.S. Governments forced removal of 1838, the infamous “Trail of Tears.”  The Pow Wow, while somewhat commercial, was showcase of native dance, song, drumming and art that capped off the weekend. It was a celebration of culture, family and spirituality. Click on the photo below to see more photographs.

A final thought to those who contemplate roaming the red roads in an RV or other such vehicle.  Always know where you want to be on the 4th of July.   It’s our #1 rule in planning our RV travel.  Of course if you want to be boon docking in the desert by yourself it’s not an issue. However,  if you plan on being anywhere near civilization do yourself a favor:  pick a spot, make a reservation and work your schedule accordingly.  It’s the one weekend that you can almost guarantee  you’ll be sleeping in a Wal-Mart parking lot if you don’t have a reservation.

Click on Photo to enter gallery

About JudithC99

Wanderer. Writer. Artist. Photographer. Learner. Traveler of the Red Roads

One comment

  1. Pingback: On Top of Old Smoky « Red Road Diaries

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