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Cherokee Art Flourishes in Hard Times

America's indigenous people hold on to their cultural identity through the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual which was formed in 1946 in response to the increased interest in native handcrafts. The Cherokee saw the craft revival as a way to make money and protect their heritage.

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Cherokee Indians once occupied what are today portions of seven southeastern states. Early European explorers visiting the area in the 1700s commented on the tribe’s exceptional handcrafts.
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Cherokee Indians once occupied what are today portions of seven southeastern states. Early European explorers visiting the area in the 1700s commented on the tribe’s exceptional handcrafts.

In the 1830s, the United States Government attempted to forcibly remove all Indians to reservations west of the Mississippi River. It's easy to see how some Cherokee managed to hide from the US Army for years.
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In the 1830s, the United States Government attempted to forcibly remove all Indians to reservations west of the Mississippi River. It's easy to see how some Cherokee managed to hide from the US Army for years.

On average, about 40,000 visitors browse the Qualla Arts showroom and galleries each year. The cooperative sells nearly $800,000 dollars worth of native art annually.
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On average, about 40,000 visitors browse the Qualla Arts showroom and galleries each year. The cooperative sells nearly $800,000 dollars worth of native art annually.

As far back as the 1700s, European explorers commented on the high quality of Cherokee baskets, but over the generations, the complex weaving technique was nearly lost.
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As far back as the 1700s, European explorers commented on the high quality of Cherokee baskets, but over the generations, the complex weaving technique was nearly lost.

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