The Qualla Boundary (Cherokee Indian Reservation)


• The proper name of the Cherokee Indian Reservation is the Qualla Boundary. It contains nearly 57,000 acres. Additional tribal lands are found at the Snowbird Community near Robbinsville and in Cherokee County, NC.


• Today's tribal government doesn't resemble the Cherokee government of centuries ago. Once a matriarchal society with traditional stickball games settling disputes, a democratic form of government now exists. The principal chief and vice chief are elected for four year terms with tribal council members being elected every two years.


• The Qualla Boundary is federal government public trust land held as such only for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Tribal and federal laws apply with jurisdiction by Cherokee Police or federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


• Current tribal enrollment is slightly less than 13,000. About 9,000 tribal members reside on the Qualla Boundary. Tribal members are permitted to own land and houses but can sell only to other members of the tribe. All land and business transactions are recorded by the local agency of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.


• Centuries ago the Cherokee territory included parts of what eventually became the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia. The Cherokee, along with members of other southeastern tribes, were relocated to Oklahoma in 1838-39 during the infamous “Trail of Tears.”


• The Cherokee were the first Native Americans to have their own written language. Invented by Sequoyah, the syllabary contains 86 characters. The Cherokee also had their own newspaper in the mid-1800s called The Phoenix.


• The Cherokee language, almost extinct a decade ago, is now being taught in all grades of the Cherokee school system.


• The Qualla Boundary (Cherokee Indian Reservation) and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are the only federally recognized tribe and reservation land between western New York and southern Florida.


 • Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual is the oldest Native American cooperative in the United States with more than 350 local craftspeople as members.



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