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The Cherokee Nation is the most populous tribal nation in the United States and has a long, storied, and even heartbreaking history. Today visitors can learn about them in Oklahoma and in their ancestral homelands in North Carolina. The Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma is one of the largest Indian reservations in the country. It is also one of the few reservations which are tourist-friendly.

Oklahoma is not always on people's radar as a state to visit, but it has a number of attractions on offer. Next time driving through Oklahoma, take the time to visit the Cherokee Nation, learn about the historic Route 66, and even pop into the world's largest casino on the southern border with Texas.


The Cherokee Nation - A Story Of Resolve

The Cherokee were among the "Five Civilized" tribes that were expelled from the Southeast and forced to relocate to what is today Oklahoma. Visitors can learn about this ordeal through the NPS's Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.

Today the Cherokee Nation are the descendants of the Old Cherokee Nation and are headquartered in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. According to the Visit Cherokee Nation website, they have around 400,000 members today.

  • Population: Approx. 400,000
  • Size: Around 7,000 Sq Miles
  • Headquarters: Tahlequah, Oklahoma

The reservation covers around 7,000 square miles of the northeast cover of Oklahoma.

Visitors are welcome on the reservation. Hotels and restaurants dot the tribal nation, and the nation seeks to educate visitors about their culture and community. Plan one's trip and see the various events and exhibits offered.

Go to their ancestral homelands in North Carolina, and one will find the Oconaluftee Indian Village. The village is a replica of an 18th-century eastern Cherokee community and today functions as a living Cherokee museum to educate about the history and culture of the Cherokee.

Related: The World's Largest Casino Is In The Unlikely State Of Oklahoma

Visit The Cherokee National History Museum

Visit Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and see the newly restored and opened Cherokee National History Museum. The museum is housed in the original Cherokee National Capitol building and delves into the art and tribal heritage of the Cherokee.

  • Location: Tahlequah, Oklahoma

It provides an immersive experience where visitors can take lessons in Cherokee arts and crafts. Visitors learn about the history of the Cherokee and can even study Cherokee Syllabary. It is a very interactive museum with many hands-on exhibits.

Sit down for a state-of-the-art digital multimedia presentation that dives into the cultural past and present of the Cherokee Nation. The museum also explores the dark times of the Trail of Tears with authentic voices of the Cherokee people bringing the times back to life.

  • Address: 101 S. Muskogee Ave, Tahlequah, OK
  • Opening Hours: 10.00 am to 4.00 pm
  • Days Open: Tuesday to Saturday
  • Admission: Free
  • Accessibility: Wheelchair Accessible

The Cherokee National History Museum is a great educational experience for the whole family. It offers a glimpse into a history oftentimes forgotten.

Related: Hidden Gem Of Route 66: What To Do In Thriving Oklahoma City

Sequoyah's Cabin Museum - The Creator Of The Cherokee Alphabet

Another must-see museum of the Cherokee Nation is Sequoyah's Cabin Museum. Here visitors learn about Sequoyah - a Cherokee polymath who created the Cherokee syllabary in 1821. In other words, he created a whole new alphabet for the Cherokee language. This was even though he was illiterate.

It was one of the few times in recorded history that a person who was part of a pre-literate group actually created an original and effective writing system. Sequoyah is one of the great individuals of American history, and his creation has inspired and been adapted for many other languages.

  • Sequoyah's Name In Cherokee: ᏍᏏᏉᏯ
  • Lived: Circa 1770 to 1843
  • Created Writing System: 1821

Thanks to his work, the Cherokee became one of the first North American Indigenous groups to have their own written language. By the 1850s, the literacy of the Cherokee was almost complete and even greater than the surrounding American settlers.

Today people can see Sequoyah's Cabin - it's also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was first built in 1829 and has been furnished and maintained to how it would have looked in Sequoyah's time.

  • Address: 470288 Highway 101 Sallisaw, OK
  • Opening Hours: 10.00 am to 4.00 pm
  • Days Open: Tuesday to Saturday
  • Admission: Free

The museum also sits on a 10-acre park and is located in Sallisaw, Oklahoma.