The town of Cherokee, North Carolina, located within the Qualla Boundary in the far western part of the state, is the cultural center of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Here, in this nation-within-a-nation, on a remnant of their once vast homeland, about 8,000 members of the tribe live, work, and raise their families in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina.
Though it is commonly referred to as the Cherokee Indian Reservation, the 57,000-acre Qualla Boundary is technically not a reservation because individual tribal members hold title to about eighty percent of the land. Because the land is held in a federal trust, it cannot be sold except to other tribal members.
Other Cherokee Lands in North Carolina
Other Cherokee lands in North Carolina include the 2,250-acre parcel in Graham County, home to the Snowbird community, and 5,575 acres scattered throughout Cherokee County, near the old Cherokee communities of Marble, Grape Creek, and Hanging Dog.
Photo: Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Chief Michell A. Hicks, at the Kituwah Mound, which was at one time the center of the earliest, and one of the largest Cherokee settlements. The site is about 9 miles from the town of Cherokee.