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At the southern entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the town of Cherokee boasts much historical significance with a heavy dose of kitsch thrown in. Historical artifacts show that Cherokee Indians inhabited this land for centuries before European contact. In 1830, Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal Act set in motion the tragedy that would become the "Trail of Tears" — the forced removal of tribes in the east to Oklahoma. Many Cherokee hid in the mountains to avoid relocation and today their descendants form the Eastern Band of the Cherokee, which occupies a reservation just outside the national park. The Museum of the Cherokee ...

At the southern entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the town of Cherokee boasts much historical significance with a heavy dose of kitsch thrown in. Historical artifacts show that Cherokee Indians inhabited this land for centuries before European contact. In 1830, Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal Act set in motion the tragedy that would become the "Trail of Tears" — the forced removal of tribes in the east to Oklahoma. Many Cherokee hid in the mountains to avoid relocation and today their descendants form the Eastern Band of the Cherokee, which occupies a reservation just outside the national park. The Museum of the Cherokee Indian has excellent exhibits, but much of the town, including the casino and several tacky souvenir shops, merely services the throngs of tourists that pass through en route to the national park. Still, the area is beautiful and offers excellent access to outdoor activities.

Debra Landau
About the Expert

Debra Landau has written eight Lonely Planet guidebooks, including books on the USA, Caribbean, and the South.

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