Sample crafts at nation’s oldest Native American cooperative
Brought to life in 1946, Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual is the nation’s oldest and foremost Native American cooperative. You would expect, perhaps, some fine Cherokee art and functional craft pieces; what you get on the whole is wondrous.
Within Qualla’s airy and well-appointed space, you’ll find river cane, split oak and honeysuckle vine baskets of Smithsonian quality, along with ceremonial masks, low-fired pottery, wood carvings, bead work, stone carving and pipes for coming to peace with life in general and calling forth the abiding spirit of rivers and mountains.
You’re invited to witness the stories and artistry of generational artists, some who recall having to learn English in boarding school or officiating stickball games; all of whom are conversant in the language of Cherokee heritage and art. For profiles of “elders” and other master craftsmen, visit www.cherokeeheritagetrails.org/artistdir.
Coop members have worked with the University of Tennessee to establish blight-resistant butternut trees (similar in fate to chestnut trees), valued as a natural dye source, as wood for Cherokee flutes and carvings and for their nuts, a key ingredient in traditional recipes. A grove is now thriving in the “mother town” of Kituwah.
Cherokee History in the Blue Ridge Mountains
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in Western North Carolina have a rich history and a strong heritage that is being passed down to the younger generations even today. Despite hardship and a history full of uncertain outcomes and a trail of tears, the Cherokee Indians of North Carolina have built a vibrant and successful tribal community in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Explore our webiste and learn more about Cherokee crafts, Cherokee history and Cherokee heritage.
For hours, check out the website at www.quallaartsandcrafts.com