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Public Indians, Private Cherokees: Tourism and Tradition on Tribal Ground
by Christina Taylor Beard-Moose
University of Alabama Press, 2008
Cloth: 978-0-8173-1634-1 | eISBN: 978-0-8173-8115-8 | Paper: 978-0-8173-5513-5
Library of Congress Classification E99.C5B37 2009
Dewey Decimal Classification 306.481909756


A major economic industry among American Indian tribes is the public promotion and display of aspects of their cultural heritage in a wide range of tourist venues. Few do it better than the Eastern Band of the Cherokee, whose homeland is the Qualla Boundary of North Carolina. Through extensive research into the work of other scholars dating back to the late 1800s, and interviews with a wide range of contemporary Cherokees, Beard-Moose presents the two faces of the Cherokee people. One is the public face that populates the powwows, dramatic presentations, museums, and myriad roadside craft locations. The other is the private face whose homecoming, Indian fairs, traditions, belief system, community strength, and cultural heritage are threatened by the very activities that put food on their tables. Constructing an ethnohistory of tourism and comparing the experiences of the Cherokee with the Florida Seminoles and Southwestern tribes, this work brings into sharp focus the fine line between promoting and selling Indian culture.

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