Learn about Cherokee crafts, culture before walking the Quanassee Path
A good place to start a venture along Clay County’s Quanassee Path is to visit the Cherokee Cultural Center at the Moss Memorial Library in downtown Hayesville. There is plenty of parking and an easy stop to become acquainted with Cherokee culture and pick up a brochure to learn about other offerings in town. The library site includes a large case with historic and contemporary artifacts, as well as a wide array of books and historic maps describing Cherokee history and culture.
The display includes a selection of stone tools, including projectile points and a grooved axe. Games were always popular with Cherokee people and the display includes stone and clay discs used in a game called “chunkey.” Chunkey was played by rolling disc-shaped stones across the ground and throwing spears at them in an attempt to place the spear as close to the stopped stone as possible. A set of ballsticks represents the still-popular game of stickball, a rough-and-tumble team sport.
Historic and contemporary crafts make up much of the exhibit, from Pisgah Phase pottery to contemporary objects. Pisgah pottery was made around 1000 AD. The pottery displays the Cherokee traditional practice of paddle stamping. Potters used carved wood paddles to impart decoration on the outsides of their pots, a practice that compressed the clay and added to the pot’s density and strength.
Perhaps, the Cherokee’s most popular craft are their baskets. Traditionally made from rivercane, the display includes a collection of rivercane baskets made by Snowbird artist, Emma Garret. Davy Arch is a well-known artist represented by a grouping of carved masks. An engaging storyteller, he worked for many years at the Oconaluftee Indian Village in Cherokee.
The Cherokee Cultural Center is framed by large photographs of two notable Cherokee people. Sequoyah was the inventor of the Cherokee syllabary, an alphabet that makes up their spoken and written language. The late Diamond Brown was a performer and keeper of Cherokee culture who served on Tribal Council as the Snowbird representative.
The Quanassee Path is a two-mile Cherokee history trail with five locations. Starting at the Cherokee Cultural Center in the library, the path leads to the outdoor Cherokee Homestead Exhibit, Cherokee Botanical Sanctuary, Old Jail Museum, and Quanassee village, the site of the Spikebuck Mound.
Hours are 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday, and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday.