HILL, OK The current master plan for a revised Cherokee Heritage
Center includes a new and expanded Ancient Village.
Executive Director Carey Tilley said Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism
is putting up $250,000 for the first of three phases for the new
village. He said funds must be raised for the second and third phases.
Overall, the project is estimated at $1 million. Construction has
started, and he said he hopes all phases are done by spring 2011.
new village will have 13 stations for demonstrations such as basket
weaving and canoe making. Eight pairs of winter and summer homes,
winter and summer council houses, an orchard, ball field, gardens
and a re-circulating stream are other features. Plants and trees
native to the Southeast and Oklahoma that are important to Cherokees
will also be planted.
new village will be historically accurate with larger winter homes
and a plaza, he said. The current council house will remain, but
the small, dome winter homes called osies in the current village
were inaccurate and demolished.
were substantial buildings, Tilley said of historical osies.
Several families could have lived in them during the winter.
Theyre not little, sweat lodge-looking things.
said another difference, which is not in the current village yet
essential in Cherokee life, is a plaza.
they show up everywhere. That was the center of community activity
for most of the year. They would have gathered in the council house
for certain events, but the social life was centered around that
time period for the new village will also change from the 1600s
to the early 1700s. The Yamasee War between the British colonists
and tribes in the Southeast erupted in 1715 in South Carolina, Tilley
said. When it was over, hardly any tribal people remained between
Charleston, S.C., and the Cherokee Nation, which led to more trade
between Cherokees and colonists.
this period, Cherokees still made traditional baskets and practical
items and used stone tools, although steel tools and utensils were
available through trade.
changes their world after that Yamasee War. So this is sort of a
last glimpse of the Cherokees before there is a major shift in their
material culture, Tilley said.
important part of the experience will be the people employed as
villagers, he said. Six year-round employees currently work in the
village, and six more are hired for summer. Tilley said through
tribal programs, there should be no problems hiring villagers once
it is finished.
change includes moving the marble field near the CHC entrance into
It will be a component of the village to show this is a game
that was played in the 1700s, and its still played today,
will also be no palisade surrounding the expanded village.
have found that Cherokees did not have palisaded villages, so were
making an effort to be accurate, Tilley said.
also said research shows that towns had no-build zones
between the fires of the winter and summer council houses and the
area leading to water.
they had an intent that you not build on that line. Generally, that
is a southeasterly direction to water, Tilley said. Thats
still important today, going east to water from the fire.
Alfred Vick at the University of Georgias College of Environmental
and Design, assisted the CHC with its plans. He said the current
village site was not ideal because the topography was not flat,
especially for a plaza. So land adjacent to it and an overflow parking
area will be used for the new village. The new village will encompass
about five acres, a fraction of the size of a true village from
Ancient Village was built in 1967 and was ahead of its time
because not a lot of people were promoting living history, Tilley
said. He said its buildings are beyond repair except
for the council house, which will be used as an interpretive area.