Cherokee River Valley: The town of Cherokee along the Oconaluftee River surrounded by the Great Smoky mountains in western North Carolina, circa 1949. Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of the Collection of Hunter Library, Western Carolina University.
Cherokee Land Use: Traditionally, the Cherokee settled in the river valleys of the Great Smoky mountains, purposefully living in lower elevations for agricultural reasons, and near water for practical and spiritual reasons. They used the area that would become Highlands for hunting. Traces of ancient Cherokee hunting camps have been found here.