Snowbird Cherokees

The Snowbird Cherokees looks at life in the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, particularly in the relatively isolated traditional community of Snowbird, deep in the mountains of western North Carolina. When Cherokees were evicted from their native lands by the United States government in 1838, many of the ancestors of Snowbird managed to flee in advance of the soldiers, returning to their homes after months of hiding in the forests of the Smokey Mountains.

In addition to exploring the daily lives and culture of the Eastern Cherokees, this program delves into the history of the Cherokees, especially since the arrival of European whites in their territory. Descriptions of traditional Cherokee beliefs offer some insight into their worldview and how Cherokees today see their world and their future. Intercutting historical elements with contemporary life in the Eastern Band, this is one of the few programs that focuses on Eastern, rather than Western, Cherokees.

Snowbird Cherokees, Part 1
Episode 1

Video

The Snowbird Cherokees discusses the importance of family and traditions. Throughout history, native cultures have often been displaced by new emerging forces, removed to remote, out-of-the-way places...
Snowbird Cherokees, Part 2
Episode 2

Video

Snowbird Cherokee discuss navigating the "white man's world." Customs of the community are discussed. Family members pull together to help each other out. The Cherokee ritual of "going to water"...
Snowbird Cherokees, Part 3
Episode 3

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A Snowbird Cherokee, Richard Crowe, discusses his experience with a traditional medicine man. He says that the man used to bring some herbs--some medicine. He would tell me to stick out my tongue...
Snowbird Cherokees, Part 4
Episode 4

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A Snowbird Cherokee woman, Bessie Long, discusses basket making. She says that she has been making baskets since she was small. She says that her Mama used to make baskets. That's what we lived off of...
Snowbird Cherokees, Part 5
Episode 5

Video

Snowbird Cherokee discuss a historical site that was submerged under water, and the archaeological dig that sought to preserve the site and its artifacts. In the eyes of European whites, America's...
Snowbird Cherokees, Part 6
Episode 6

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The segment looks at the youth and modern generations of the Cherokee Nation. Native American youth in treatment for addictions are taught about the medicine wheel. Snowbird is n a dry county of North...
Snowbird Cherokees, Part 7
Episode 7

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This segment reveals some of the political issues that face the Cherokees. There are very few traditional people in the county. Many have been isolated from the reservation because they have moved...
Snowbird Cherokees, Part 8
Episode 8

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Understanding what identity means to the Snowbird Cherokee. Cherokee has grown enormously to accommodate tourism, which is the basis of their economy. Cherokee men dress in regalia, which the tourists...
Snowbird Cherokees, Part 9
Episode 9

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A look at the annual meeting of the Snowbird Cherokee and the traditions and ceremonies performed there. The Mountain Ceremony is an ancient Cherokee right. Everyone brought a turtle shell of dirt...
Snowbird Cherokees, Part 10
Episode 10

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In the final segment, Snowbird Cherokee share stories and legends. A Cherokee tradition, now fading but still held by some, concerns the existence of "little people," small bands of elusive, elf-sized...