On Sacred Ground

By Michael Beadle

Nearly two centuries have passed since the last time Cherokees held a council meeting on the sacred ground of Kituwah, the tribe’s revered Mother Town.

By Michael Beadle

It’s a story 10,000 years in the making. And now Cherokees and Native Americans from all over the United States will tell it.

When “Unto These Hills” opens June 8 for its latest outdoor season, audiences will find a whole new show — a new script, new cast, new stage, new Surround Sound speakers, new costumes and outfits, new songs and dances, and a new kind of energy that the drama’s management says has been missing for years.

By Michael Beadle

There’s a heavy heat inside Mountainside Theatre’s rehearsal studio even with fans blowing and the lights turned off. The dancers, sweaty but still smiling, have been practicing all afternoon, fine-tuning the finale for “Unto These Hills.”

By Michael Beadle

Kituhwa.

To the Cherokee, it represents one of the most sacred sites in the world, the first Cherokee town, a mound where the sacred fire burned for centuries. It is from this site that the Cherokee named themselves Ani-Kituhwa-gi, the people of Kituhwa.

By Michael Beadle

Last week, Cherokee students found themselves stretching, swooning, thrusting imaginary swords and spouting 400-year-old Elizabethan English.

All that without textbooks or boring lectures about William Shakespeare being the greatest playwright ever.

On one level, the natural history of a region consists of its terrain, habitats, plants, animals and how they interrelate. I also believe that no full understanding of the natural history of a region can be realized without coming to terms with its spiritual landscape. And when we consider the spiritual landscape of the Smokies region, we enter the realm of the ancient Cherokees.

For the first time in history, an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is running for a seat on the Swain County Board of Commissioners.

Ben Bushyhead lives just outside Bryson City and works for tribal government as the director of community and recreation services, which encompasses social services, seniors service, and youth service to name a few. The budget Bushyhead oversees in his department rivals that of the Swain County government.

By Michael Beadle

It’s Thursday morning and Cherokee High School junior Brandi Oocumma is preparing to read a news story on the radio about the risks and benefits of caesarian deliveries. She wants to become a pediatrician one day, so she likes reading articles about children’s issues.

By Michael Beadle

Sequoyah is perhaps one of the most recognizable names in Native American history — and quite rightly so. After all, he was the only person in human history to invent a language on his own without first having the skills to read or write.

The symbols he developed into a syllabary are used to identify all the syllabic sounds of the Cherokee language, a feat that helped the Cherokees record and save their culture.

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Hotel is planning a $254 million expansion and upgrade of its operations, including a third hotel tower, new entertainment venue and overhaul of the casino floor.

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