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Fresh look at Cherokee history

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For the first time in intertribal history, the Cherokee Nation and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are partnering to host “Cherokee Days,” a public educational program that shares the Cherokee story.

The event is April 3-5 at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

The Cherokee Nation and Eastern Band will share the Cherokee story that spans time immemorial to the Trail of Tears to the successes of the modern tribes. The educational program includes an exhibit showcasing a timeline of historical milestones, live cultural art demonstrations and scheduled cultural performances.

“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.

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, N.C., became federally recognized in 1868.

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

The NMAI holds an expansive collections of Native artifacts. For more information, visit www.nmai.esi.edu.