Cherokee History and Culture Institute

Registration Info and Syllabus – Level I, , Cherokee History and Culture Institute, Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Cherokee, will be provided by members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. This intensive five-day institute for educators covers Cherokee archaeology, history, anthropology, folklore, literature, and geography. It models experiential education for the classroom and includes field trips. Participants learn to think critically about different disciplines while taking into account a Cherokee-centered viewpoint.  This work is applicable to other American Indian tribes as well. Contact , 828/497-3481, x1012, .
The goal of the Institute is to provide accurate information about the Cherokee (and other American Indians,) resources, and connections with Cherokee people. We will read and discuss articles from a variety of disciplines. Interviews, field trips, and experiences on the Qualla Boundary will be integrated with academic study.

Credit and hours


You must obtain credit from your own school system for CEU’s or independent study at your own university, with your instructor’s permission.


  • Institute fee: $500 (Make check payable to Museum of the Cherokee Indian)
  • Books: Cherokee Nation; a Troubled History; Living Stories of the Cherokee; Plants and the Cherokee DVD; Timberlake Memoirs; Cherokee Heritage Trails Guidebook.
  • Admission to the museum will be complimentary throughout the course.
  • Room and Board: Participants are responsible for their own room and board if staying in Cherokee.

Museum membership: This is not a course requirement, but only a suggestion. It in no way influences any grade or credit for the course. Participants may want to consider becoming museum members. Benefits include a subscription to the Journal of Cherokee Studies and a 20% discount in the Museum Store.



Class size will be limited and participants registered on a first-come, first-served basis. To register for the institute send fees and registration form to:

Museum of the Cherokee Indian,  589 Tsali Blvd., P.O. Box 1599,  Cherokee NC 28719.


Phone: work
Phone: home
Grade and subject taught:
School district:
Museum Institute Fee: $500 Make check payable to Museum of the Cherokee Indian

Contact info

Dakota Brown, Education Director
Museum of the Cherokee Indian
589 Tsali Blvd. PO Box 1599
Cherokee NC 28719
1-828-497-3481 x1012



Syllabus: Cherokee History and Culture Institute – Level 1

Course Description

This interdisciplinary course will inform teachers about Cherokee culture and history. The class will use traditional academic teaching along with experiential education, a model that may be useful to teachers in their classrooms. The course will cover archaeology, history, the Trail of Tears, storytelling, medicine, arts and crafts, and present-day Cherokee life. The museum’s exhibit, educational materials, and documentary video will be used.

Because the field of Cherokee studies is interdisciplinary, this course will examine several different disciplines that contribute to our knowledge of Cherokee history and culture: archaeology, history, anthropology, and folklore. We will discuss the contributions and limitations of each discipline.


  • Assigned readings
  • Journal kept throughout class
  • Class participation
  • Presentation to the class on the last day based on your research during the institute. The presentation can be done individually or in a small group, and may cover a topic of interest or the development of classroom materials.


Please read these books BEFORE the institute begins.

  • King, Duane H. The Cherokee Indian Nation: A Troubled History
  • Duncan, Barbara, ed., Living Stories of the Cherokee
  • Timberlake, Henry, Memoir.  Ed. Duane King, 2007 edition
  • Duncan, Barbara, and Brett Riggs, Cherokee Heritage Trails Guidebook.


Daily from 9 am–12 noon, 1 pm –4 pm, and 6 pm–8 pm

You are welcome to bring family members to group events like the outdoor drama.  They will be responsible for their own tickets. 


Monday,  Archaeology

9 am–noon Intro to course. Museum tour.
“Archaeology,”—discussion of articles
1 pm Origins controversies: Native American Origins, Cherokee origins
Trip to mounds—use your own transportation
2–3 pm Visit to Kituhwa Mound
4—5 pm Visit Nikwasi Mound in Franklin with storyteller
5—6 pm Picnic at Big Bear Shelter in Franklin—NC BBQ
7 pm Arrive back at Museum

Optional evening trip to Clingman’s Dome summit.


“An Introduction.” King pp. ix-xix.
“Introduction” Duncan pp. 1-27.
Roy S. Dickens, Jr. “The Origins and Development of Cherokee Culture.” In King, 3-32. “The Nikwasi Mound” by Owle; “How the World Was Made” by Littlejohn in Duncan.
Most recent article on origins controversies


Tuesday,  Anthropology and Linguistics

9 am—11:30 ” Anthropology and Culture”—lecture and discussion
Cherokee language lesson—
11:30-12:30 Lunch
12:30—1:45 Visit Oconoluftee Village
2-4 pm Cherokee pottery workshop
5–7 pm Traditional Cherokee Dinner at Kituhwa
Cherokee Dance and Music with the Warriors of AniKituhwa


  • CULTURE “Prologue” and “Epilogue” by Sarah Hill. In Weaving New Worlds. (handout) Persico article in King.
  • “First Man and First Woman” by Littlejohn in Duncan; “How the Possum Lost His Tail” and “Daughter of the Sun.” by Owle in Duncan.
  • “Sequoyah”by Bushyhead; “Cherokee Language” by Chekelelee; and “The Origin of the Milky Way,” translated by Junaluska, all in Duncan
  • MEDICINE “Medicine Stories,” “Formula,” “The Hunter and Thunder,”by Bushyhead in Duncan. “Magic Lake” by Owle in Duncan. “Feathers” by Chekelelee.
  • DVD Plants and the Cherokee


Wednesday,    History

9 am—10:45 History”—lecture and discussion
11—12  Oral history
1 pm-4 pm Emissaries of Peace  discussion; 18th century Cherokee history
7–10 pm “Unto These Hills” Outdoor drama


HISTORY Reid, “A Perilous Rule: The Law of International Homicide”in King, pp. 33-46. “War,” “Women,” and “Cities of Refuge”by Davey Arch in Duncan

Timberlake, Henry, Memoirs

King and Iobst articles in King on Removal and the Formation of the Eastern Band
Removal– Perdue and Davis articles in King. “Trail of Tears” by Owle, “Trail of Tears Basket” by Chekelelee, and “Removal” by Arch, all in Duncan


Thursday,   Cultural Geography—Cherokee Heritage Trails

9 am—6 pm Field trip on Cherokee Heritage Trail
9 am Depart museum in vans with tour guides
10—10:30 am Stecoah Valley Center—new Cherokee exhibit
11-12 Junaluska Gravesite and talk
Tour Medicine Plant Trail
12 noon Indian Dinner by
1 pm Tatham Gap Trail and Trail of Tears
4-5 pm Arrive back at Museum

Thursday evening–free


Ch. 2: “Snowbird” in Duncan & Riggs, Cherokee Heritage Trails Guidebook.


Friday,   Literature and Folklore; Stereotypes; Taking it Home

9 am—10:45 Discussion of Folklore, Oral History, and Literature
11-12 Workshop on Storytelling
12-1 Lunch
1:30—2:30 Stereotypes and How To Tell the Difference

2:45-5:00 Your projects



Slapin and Seale, “How to Tell the Difference” (handout) from Through Indian Eyes


  • Duncan, Barbara R. Living Stories of the Cherokee (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1998)
  • Duncan, Barbara R. and Brett H. Riggs, Cherokee Heritage Trails Guidebook (Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2003.)
  • Hill, Sarah H. “Intro” and “Epilogue” from Weaving New Worlds; Southeastern Cherokee Women and Their Basketry. (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1997.)
  • King, Duane H. The Cherokee Indian Nation; A Troubled History (Knoxville: Univ. of Tennessee Press, 1979)
  • Plants and the Cherokee Documentary video by Laurel Hill Press and MCI.
  • Slapin, Beverly and Doris Seale, eds. “How to Tell the Difference” In Through Indian Eyes; The Native Experience in Books for Children. (Berkeley: Oyate, 1998.)
  • Timberlake, Henry, Memoirs.  Ed. Duane King (Cherokee NC: Museum of the Cherokee Indian Press, 2007.)


  • Chapman, Jeff. Tellico Archaeology. (Knoxville: Univ. of Tenn. Press, 1985.)
  • Conley, Robert J. Cherokee Windsong; a Novel of the Trail of Tears. (Norman: Univ.of Oklahoma Press, 1992)
  • Conley, Robert. Sequoyah; A Novel. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2002.)
  • Conley, Robert. Cherokee Dragon; A Novel. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2001.)
  • Davis, Trawick and Steven Ward. Time Before History: Archaeology in North Carolina. (Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1999.)
  • Duncan, Barbara, ed. Where It All Began: Cherokee Creation Stories in Art. (Cherokee: Museum of the Cherokee Indian Press, 2001.)
  • Duncan, Barbara R. and Brett H. Riggs. Cherokee Heritage Trails Guidebook. (Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2003.)
  • Finger, John. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians 1819-1900. (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1984.)
  • Finger, John. Cherokee Americans: The Eastern Band Cherokees in the Twentieth Century. (Brompton Reprint, 1993.)
  • First Woman and the Strawberry; A Cherokee Legend. (Vero Beach: Rourke Press, 1996)
  • Hatley, Tom. The Dividing Paths; The Cherokees and the South Carolinians through the Revolutionary Era. (New York: Oxford Press on Demand, 1995.)
  • Journal of Cherokee Studies (Cherokee: Museum of the Cherokee Press, 1976–present)
  • Leftwich, Rodney. Arts and Crafts of the Cherokee. (Cherokee: Cherokee Communications, 1957.)
  • McLoughlin, William. Cherokee Renascence and the New Republic. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999.)
  • McLoughlin, William. Cherokees and Missionaries 1789-1839. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1995.)
  • Mooney, James Myths, Legends, and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokee (Asheville: Historical Images, 1992 Rpt. of 1900 Bureau of American Ethnology Report.)
  • Perdue, Theda. The Cherokee; Indians of North America Series (New York: Chelsea House, 1989)
  • Perdue, Theda. Cherokee Women; Gender and Culture Change 1700-1835. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 1998.)
  • Perdue, Theda, and Michael D. Green, eds. The Cherokee Removal; A Brief History With Documents (Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin’s Press, 1995)
  • Ross, Gayle. How Rabbit Tricked Otter: and Other Cherokee Trickster Stories (New York: Harper Collins, 1994)
  • Speck, Frank G., and Leonard Broom. Cherokee Dance and Drama. (Knoxville: UT Press, rpt. 1951 ed. )