Scenic USA - North Carolina

Oconaluftee Islands Park

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Oconaluftee Islands Park - Cherokee, North Carolina

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     It's not known how long the Cherokee Tribe lived in today's western North Carolina, but tribal lore tells of mastodon hunts which have been extinct for 10,000 years. By the time Europeans arrived in the 16th century, the Cherokee lived in villages centered on a large council house and a perpetual sacred fire. During the 1800s, the Cherokee adopted a constitution, a form of government, developed a written language and published their own newspaper. Greed for the Cherokee's land and gold forced a large segment of their population westward, where nearly 4000 died along the Trail of Tears. Those Cherokee who were able to hide in the Carolina Hills returned to their land. Today, more than 13,000 Eastern Cherokee Oconaluftee Islands Park - Cherokee, North Carolina live in their own sovereign nation in North Carolina.
     With the nation's most popular National Park to the north, and the addition of Harrah's Cherokee Casino, many visitors come to spend time in the town of Cherokee.
     Attracting more sightseers than anglers, the kid-friendly Oconaluftee Islands Park is located near the heart of Cherokee. During the summer, the park is a haven for picnics, swimming and tubing. Summer evenings are also a time for storytelling and Indian lore told around a bonfire. With a little luck you may be chosen for a Cherokee Friendship Dance.

      Area Map


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