September 22, 2010
Cherokee Delegation Returns to Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area, Re-creating 18th-century Diplomatic Emissaries of Sovereign Nations
Members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee re-enact an 18th-century “state visit” to the colonial capital as a tribal delegation portrays a Native American presence from the time period Saturday - Sunday, Sept. 25-26 for modern guests of Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area.
Guests may visit the Magazine yard “at the Camp of the Cherokee” to learn more about Cherokee diplomacy and culture during the colonial period. During Williamsburg’s 18th-century time as capital of Britain’s largest and wealthiest North American colony, Cherokee delegations traveled to Williamsburg regularly where they were honored and regarded as official envoys of sovereign nations to discuss trade and alliances. At times, there were dozens of Cherokee men and women in the city. Temporary camps and accommodations were made to house the parties of Indians – including the issuance of military tents from the Magazine. The camps served as places for rest, cooking, repairing of packs and moccasins, and camaraderie. A 1751 newspaper account reported “…they met in the evening at the Camp of the Cherokees; where making a large Fire, they danced round it, and concluded the Evening with Harmony and Chearfulness.”
Guests are encouraged to spend time “at the Camp of the Cherokee” 9:30 a.m. — noon and 2 — 4:30 p.m. Saturday, and 9:30 a.m. — 1:30 p.m. Sunday. A Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket or Good Neighbor pass is required.
“At the Camp of the Cherokee” is presented as part of Colonial Williamsburg’s American Indian Initiative in partnership with the Museum of the Cherokee Indian and the Cherokee Historical Association. “It is a continuation of years of building relationships and cooperation between Colonial Williamsburg and the Eastern Band’s cultural partners,” said Buck Woodard, manager of the American Indian Initiative for Colonial Williamsburg’s department of public history. “Primary documentation, accounts and other evidence of nearly 20 Cherokee delegations in 18th-century Williamsburg is surprisingly plentiful and that historical record allows us to faithfully re-create these visits.”
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. This town-sized living history museum tells the inspirational stories of our journey to become Americans through programs in the Historic Area and through the award-winning Revolutionary City program.
Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at www.history.org.