Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cherokee Festival

I used to avoid the Cherokee Reservation in North Carolina.  Too commercial, not much real culture on display.
The Southeast Tribal Festival in Cherokee, NC

However, I drove to the reservation on Saturday for the multi-nation Tribal Festival and was pleasantly surprised. I had a blast. If you avoid the ticky-tacky souvenir shops, it was like stepping into a different country for a few hours: the colorful traditional clothing, the dancing and hypnotic chanting, the storytelling and the first Indian tacos I'd had in 15 years. Fry bread is greasy, but oh so delicious. It's something you eat maybe twice a year.

Here's a short video of one dance. The chanting is very hypnotic and peaceful.

The most unusual part of the festival was the stick ball game. It's like a cross between lacrosse, soccer and American football. It's played with small lacross-like sticks and a tiny ball that appeared to be the size of a walnut. It requires keen eyesight.

Here are a few pictures from Saturday's festival in Cherokee, North Carolina.

Blowgun Competition

Youngsters carry on the traditional dancing.

Choctaw Nation Dancers

Colorful clothing

Storytelling with a flute as a prop.

Stick Ball is a contact sport!

It's played barefoot.
The ball is just in front of the player with the blue shorts, above his wooden racket.

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