kids encyclopedia robot

Cherokee, North Carolina facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Cherokee, North Carolina

ᏣᎳᎩ (Cherokee),
ᎡᎳᏬᏗ (Elawodi)
Main street of Cherokee
Main street of Cherokee
"Trails of Legends and Adventures"
Country United States
State North Carolina
Counties Swain and Jackson
 • Total 12.0 sq mi (31.2 km2)
 • Land 12.0 sq mi (31.2 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
1,991 ft (607 m)
 • Total 2,138
 • Density 177.5/sq mi (68.53/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 828
Mingo Falls near Cherokee drops about 120 feet (37 m) during moderately dry weather.
Bridge over Oconaluftee River in Cherokee, NC IMG 4887
Walking bridge over the Oconaluftee River in Cherokee
National Powwow dancer 2007
Member of the Warriors of AniKituhwa, a traditional Eastern Cherokee band dance troupe
Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Cherokee, NC IMG 4881
Museum of the Cherokee Indian on Tsali Boulevard in Cherokee
Cherokee Baptist Church, Cherokee, NC
Cherokee Baptist Church

Cherokee (Cherokee: ᏣᎳᎩ, romanized: Tsalagi) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Swain and Jackson counties in Western North Carolina, United States, within the Qualla Boundary land trust. Cherokee is located in the Oconaluftee River Valley around the intersection of U.S. Routes 19 and 441. As of the 2010 census, the CDP had a population of 2,138. It is the capital of the federally recognized Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, one of three recognized Cherokee tribes and the only one in North Carolina.

The community also serves as a tourist destination, with numerous campgrounds, motels, and hotels serving visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with a major entrance to the park lying within the community. Cherokee serves as the southern terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Oconaluftee River serves as a major water sports destination, and the Oconaluftee Indian Village, a living-history museum, hosts the popular outdoor drama Unto These Hills.


Cherokee is a tourist-oriented area, located at the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and at the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. In addition to the casino, it is the site of attractions such as:

Eastern Cherokee history, culture, and crafts are portrayed in the historical drama Unto These Hills, presented each year during the tourist season. It is also home to three roadside attractions with zoos: Cherokee Bear Zoo, Chief Saunooke Bear Park, and Santa’s Land. Retired game show host and animal rights activist Bob Barker has called for the black bear zoos at these attractions to be closed, prompted by the experiences he learned of from the family of Rep. Bill Young of Florida.

The Cherokee area was also the home of two, now-defunct amusement parks, Cherokee Wonderland and Frontier Land. The former was only open for a few years in the 1960s, while the latter opened a few years later and was open for many years before being converted into a water park and finally closing to make room for the Harrah's Cherokee Casino. When they were open, both parks featured their own 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge railroads (named Cherokee Wonderland Railroad and Frontier Land Railroad) as part of their attraction line-ups.

Pop culture

Scenes from movies such as Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, Digging to China, Forces of Nature, The Fugitive, and Stroszek were shot in Cherokee.


The EBCI negotiated an agreement with the state, and in 1997 opened Harrah's Cherokee Casino for gaming. It has generated jobs and revenue for the tribe, providing money that the EBCI applies to its people's education, welfare and culture. In 2005, nearly four million people visited the casino and generated a per capita profit of roughly $8,000 annually. Each member of the tribe is paid some annual income; the tribe reinvests other monies for health and related services, and long-term development.

Since the late 20th century, most manufacturing and textile plants left the area, moving their jobs offshore to lower wage areas, such as Southeast Asia. The regional economy suffered. Many of the Cherokee had to rely on jobs related to national park tourism and recreation, which provided work for about half of the year. Many tribal members had to rely on public assistance to survive during the winter.


2020 census

Cherokee racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 206 9.38%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 20 0.91%
Native American 1,643 74.85%
Asian 27 1.23%
Other/Mixed 151 6.88%
Hispanic or Latino 148 6.74%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 2,195 people, 867 households, and 561 families residing in the CDP.


Cherokee Central Schools operates the K–12 public schools. Cherokee High School is the local high school.

The private elementary school, New Kituwah Academy, is based on language immersion in Cherokee.

Previously the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) provided educational services, and in their schools students were not permitted to speak Cherokee.

Notable people

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Cherokee (Carolina del Norte) para niños

kids search engine
Cherokee, North Carolina Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.