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Although the vast territorial holdings have long disappeared since 25,000 Cherokee ruled over 135,000 square miles covering parts of what are now eight states, a renewed interest in Cherokee culture and heritage is kept alive through legends and myths. The Cherokee museum, Indian village, and historic outdoor drama are examples of the rich heritage kept alive throughout the years.

Unique among the many tribes inhabiting North America, the Cherokee had a written language created by Sequoyah in the 1820's. By the early 1840's, a Cherokee newspaper, The Phoenix, was being circulated throughout the territory.

Not long ago, Cherokee students were not permitted to speak their native language in school, but today it's not uncommon for young and old to converse in Cherokee. The language, almost lost just a generation ago, is now a popular course in area schools.

Unlike the Plains Indians depicted in western movies, the Cherokee lived in log cabins, wore turbans and preferred European clothes.

Of all the injustices done to Native Americans, none equals the cruelty and betrayal culminating in the tragic "Trail of Tears" when the Cherokee Nation was forcefully driven out of the mountains and marched 1,200 miles to Oklahoma.

Those who survived the journey to Oklahoma are known as the Western Band. Descendants of those who hid in the Great Smoky Mountains to avoid removal are known as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

June 26, 1827. The Cherokee Nation took a singular step in the history of the American Indian by formally adopting a written constitution establishing a republican form of government.

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