Lynne Harlan: Eastern Cherokees celebrate
"This week the Eastern Band of Cherokee celebrates our 97th Annual Cherokee Indian Fair. The fair grew out of our tradition of celebrating the harvest and has become the single most unifying event in our community. From a parade that kicks off the event through the five-day celebration, our community competes in athletic events, agricultural exhibitions and arts and crafts.

For years, many Cherokee relied on tourists and collectors for income from their art, but today our tribal members have become collectors. The art exhibition is the largest display of Eastern Band art, and the prize ribbons are coveted by our artists. Throughout the fair thousands of Cherokee join our neighbors and visitors in viewing the art. Older traditions have seen a resurgence through patterns, designs and materials.

Another favorite event is the Indian ball game. Indian ball, which is sometimes called stick ball, is similar to lacrosse. The players use racketed sticks to pick up the ball and run the ball through the uprights located at opposite ends of the field while negotiating tackles and blocks from the opposing team. The players can pass the ball, throw it down field or even put it in their mouths to keep the opposing players from getting it, but they cannot pick it up from the ground with their hands."

Get the Story:
Lynn Harlan: Tribe's fair celebrates all things Cherokee (The Asheville Citizen-Times 10/9)

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