About Cherokee


The Early People

What is now Western North Carolina has been part of the homeland of the Cherokee people for untold centuries. Today’s Eastern Band members are direct descendents of those who avoided the Cherokees’ forced removal to Oklahoma in the 1830’s the “Trail of Tears.” Their home today is the 56,000-acre Qualla Boundary in Western North Carolina adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are more than 13,000 enrolled members of the Tribe, over 60% of whom live on the Boundary.

The Qualla Boundary includes the town of Cherokee, NC as well as several other communities. Many of these townships would have been clan townships in earlier times (Bird clan, Wolf clan, etc).

Cherokee is home to North Carolina’s largest tourist attraction – Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Hotel. Harrah’s is one of Cherokee’s largest employers, providing a combined payroll of $79.9 million annually (FY 2004) and additional discretionary income to Tribal members in the form of per capital gaming distributions. The Tribe has been able to make major improvements in areas of health care, support services and utilities, downtown revitalization and other projects for the benefit of Qualla Boundary.

Tribal Government

Principal Chief Richard Sneed

Principal Chief Richard Sneed[/caption]The Tribe adopted a constitution and organized a modern government in 1827. In 1865 the State of North Carolina assured the permanent residence of the Cherokees. In 1868, a general council of the Eastern Cherokees was held to form a Tribal Government, and the new government was inaugurated December 1, 1870.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) is a sovereign nationwith a three-branch government: Executive Branch, headed by Principal Chief and Vice Chief; Legislative Tribal Council; and Judicial Branch.

The EBCI Tribal Government provides services typical of those provided by most municipal governments.

Business Development

Business properties on the Cherokee Indian Reservation are available for lease. There are tax credits available for each Native American employed and your business may qualify for accelerated depreciation of certain property acquired in connection with your business. For more information please contact:

Mickey Duvall
Secretary of Commerce
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
[email protected]


You may contact the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians at...

P.O. Box 455
Cherokee, NC 28719
Fax: 828-359-7007

For more information, visit the ECBI website

Local Newspaper
One Feather

Find your family’s connection to the Cherokee People. Research, information, publications available from:

Cherokee Roots
Bob Blankenship
71 Boyd Catolster Road
Cherokee, NC 28719

EBCI Genealogy Check

Public Transportation

Cherokee Transit offers transportation between many of the attractions and the shops, hotels and casino in Cherokee.

Click here to download a printable PDF of the current transit route map and bus stop schedule.