Today we drove over to Cherokee, North Carolina with Alethea, Camdyn, and Charlie. The trip was Cheryl’s idea in light of Camdyn and Charlie’s infatuation with American Indians. Camdyn has been fascinated by the Native American story for several years. She has the Indian doll in the American Girl series; Pocahontas is one of her favorite movies; she loves all things Indian. Charlie has other points of interest: cowboys and Indians, guns, knives, bows and arrows. We went to the Museum in Cherokee; Camdyn freaked out at the life size statues. We then visited the Cherokee Indian Village which includes a guided tour through a replica of an actual village with live demonstrations of dances, pottery, canoe making, weaving, and weapon making, etc. We picked up some souvenirs for Camdyn (Indian necklace and belt) and Charlie (double barrel rifle). Finally, we spent some time wading in the river.
The trip was full of happy thoughts for me. Sections of Cherokee look much as they did when I first saw them in the early sixties. The store where Mom made me buy a souvenir in 1973 is still there. The quaint, river-stone, First Baptist Church seems frozen in time. I cherish the memories of those family vacations. I took my children there when they were young and now I have taken my grand-children. Add to the mix reflections of a trip Cheryl and I made together last year, and the obtrusive presence of Herod’s shrinks on the skyline.
My favorite part of any trip to Cherokee is the mountain streams. Just the sight of them is refreshing. Together with the lush foliage all around they paint a pristine portrait primordial creation.
There are downers to any trip to the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation. To go there is to be confronted with the Trail of Tears and the ongoing marginalization of native peoples everywhere. Perhaps the gambling industry will provide economic development for the remnant that remains, but I can’t help but fear it will bring further degradation to a once proud people.
August 13, 2010