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About Us

Learn about Cherokee Historical Association

Cherokee Historical is a non-profit organization founded in 1949 to preserve Cherokee history and culture. We are located in the heart of the Cherokee Cultural District in Cherokee, NC.

Cherokee Historical Vision

Is to be recognized as a national treasure that tells our Cherokee story through many offerings which are authentic, educational, sustainable and enhances public awareness of human rights.

Cherokee Historical Mission

Is to share Cherokee history and culture and to tell the triumphant story of the Eastern Band of Cherokees with the world. We do this through excellence in the arts, education, living history and cultural preservation.

We accomplish our mission through the operation of two cultural attractions. The Oconaluftee Indian Village living history site, and the renowned outdoor drama “Unto These Hills.”

“Unto These Hills” is one of the nation’s foremost outdoor dramas. Debuting in 1950, our show has been performed for over six million visitors.  From the first contact with Europeans to the infamous and tragic Trail of Tears, “Unto These Hills” tells the triumphant story of the Cherokee through the eons.

The Oconaluftee Indian Village transports you back in time to a living, working Cherokee Village of the 18th Century. Here, centuries-old techniques for survival have been passed down from generation to generation and preserved in this living history site.


Our Staff

Laura Blythe (EBCI)
Program Director, Executive Management Team

Lance Culpepper
Operations Director, Executive Management Team

Marina Hunley-Graham
Artistic Director

Dustin Wolfe (Muscogee Creek)
Program Manager

Chelsey Moore
Communications & Development Director

Eliza Reed (EBCI)
Finance Manager

William Maney (EBCI)
Groups & Touring Representative

Austin “Gus” Zimmerman
Executive Assistant

Michael Ramos
Oconaluftee Manufacturing

Joe Wilnoty (EBCI)
Head of Maintenance

Nathan Bush (EBCI)
Program Coordinator, Maintenance Team

Doug Reed Sr. (EBCI)
Maintenance Team

Chris Castillo (EBCI)
Maintenance Team

Our Board

Andrew Oocumma (EBCI)
Board Chair
EBCI Destination Marketing Director

Larry Blythe (EBCI)
Vice Chair
Former EBCI Vice Chief
Tribal Gaming Commission

Erma McMillan (EBCI)
Valued Alumna of Oconaluftee Indian Village

Cory Blankenship (EBCI)
Officer of Economic Opportunity at Dogwood Health Trust

Perry Shell (EBCI)
EBCI Tribal Council Representative – Big Cove Community
United States Army Veteran

Yona Wade (EBCI)
Former EBCI Secretary of Education
Harrah’s Cherokee Tribal Scholarship Fund

Paxton Myers (EBCI)
EBCI Executive Administration Chief of Staff

Jeremy Hyatt (EBCI)
Development Director at the Museum of the Cherokee People
Founder of Fire Mountain Trails

Jeremy Hyatt (EBCI)
Development Director at the Museum of the Cherokee People
Founder of Fire Mountain Trails