Known as one of the finest showcases of Native traditions, the Ninth Annual Festival of Native Peoples, July 12-13, is a celebration of traditional dance, storytelling and song performances honoring the collected history, culture, tradition and wisdom of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas. Visitors to Cherokee can witness the arresting and powerful, culture of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation, Zuni, Apache, Hawaiian, Totonac and Cherokee peoples through non-stop performances and art markets featuring esteemed Native artists at the Cherokee Indian Fair Grounds in Cherokee, North Carolina.
“An array of entertainment as diverse as the tribes that provide it ensures visitors to Cherokee will be impressed,” said Howard Wahnetah, event supervisor for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. “The tribes are so different, and when we come together to celebrate our collective native heritage, we gain a better understanding of our own history and customs. It’s vital that we continue to learn from our Elders and pass down to the younger generations our living history and culture. Festival of Native Peoples helps us and visiting tribes do just that.”
Among the dancing, singing, prayers, exhibited art and Native encampments, this year’s festival highlights include the ever popular Totonac pole flyers of Mexico who thrilled audiences as they fly from a ninety-foot pole in a spectacle of swirling color in honor of the sun and the Totonac calendar. Also performing are the Lelala Dancers of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation of North Vancouver Island, the White Mountain Apache Crown Dancers of Arizona, the Zuni Dancers from New Mexico, the Turquoise Dancers, the Aztec Dancers from Mexico City, Mexico, and Cherokee’s Warriors of AniKituhwa.
Gates open Friday and Saturday at 11 a.m. with performances throughout the day and into the evening. Daily admission is $10 per person; children six and under free. For more information, including ticket purchase, go to VisitCherokeeNC.com.