Ancient Cherokee Village Brings 18th Century Tribe To Life

Wednesday, October 2nd 2013, 5:46 pm
By: Craig Day

Fall break is just a couple weeks away, and it may be a great time for a little history lesson here in Green Country.

A new and improved ancient village attracts people from all over the world, to learn about the Cherokees and how they lived in the early 18th Century.

Just outside the Cherokee Heritage Museum, on four acres, there's a village that almost looks like a movie set, where you'll likely see men playing a stickball game or women finger weaving.

It's a way of teaching people about Cherokee history and culture through an authentic experience of what tribal life was like in the early 1700s.

The Cherokee Nation has had an ancient village open for visitors since 1967, but it's now been replaced by a new, old village. It's much larger, and more historically accurate.

"This is based off of archaeological records that are much more factually based than what the original village was," said Cheryl Parrish, the museum's Executive Director.

Danielle Culp is a living history reenactor. She said her dad always jokes she's a professional Indian.

"I really have the opportunity to share Cherokee culture with the visitors from all over the world. I had one tour with 22 different countries once," Culp said.

Those visitors can get a glimpse of daily life for Cherokees 300 years ago.

"What they take away from this is the history of the Cherokees. Not just the Trail of Tears, but before," said reenactor Zach Adair.

There are now 19 buildings on site, including summer and winter lodges. Many are made of clay mud. Plus, there are interpretive stations and plenty of chances to be immersed in a different culture and time period.

"It really gives them the opportunity to make a connection," Culp said.

Parrish said, "I hope they take away a realistic, point of view of what Cherokee life was like during that time period."

The Cherokee Heritage Center is in Park Hill, just outside of Tahlequah. For more information on events and hours, you can call 888-999-6007 or visit