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Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian Celebrates Cherokee Tribes Three-day Festival Includes Cultural Demonstrations, Performances, Exhibits and More


March 19, 2019

The National Museum of the American Indian celebrates Cherokee history during the sixth annual Cherokee Days festival April 12–14, featuring the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes—Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The free three days of festivities include the installation of the original Treaty of New Echota (1835) with the Cherokee Nation, two banner exhibitions “The Cherokee Culture” and “A Story of Cherokee Removal” and a festival full of cultural demonstrations and performances. Media are invited to a special viewing ceremony with Kevin Gover, director of the museum, and tribal dignitaries Friday, April 12 at 9 a.m.

The three-day festival showcases the shared history and cultural lifeways of the three Cherokee tribes through various cultural demonstrations such as storytelling, traditional flute music, weaponry, woodcarving, beadwork, traditional games, basket weaving, pottery demonstrations and dance performances. Hands-on activities in the imagiNations Activity Center will include making silhouette drawings and miniature gourd necklaces.

Two banner exhibitions will also be on display, courtesy of Cherokee Nation. The first, “Cherokee Culture,” examines the unique culture of the Cherokee people by exploring traditional cooking, traditional sports, language and the arts. This exhibition will be on view during the weekend in the museum’s Potomac Atrium.

The second exhibition, “A Story of Cherokee Removal,” shares the story of removal on the infamous Trail of Tears from the Cherokee perspective and addresses the devastating costs of greed and oppression. It also shows how the tribe persevered, adapted and learned to thrive. Featured within the exhibition are historical quotations from witnesses of the Cherokee Trail of Tears, historical timelines and a Trail of Tears route map. This exhibition will be on view in the museum’s fourth floor April 12–Oct. 30.


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