This is the first ethnographic study of Snowbird, North Carolina, a remote mountain community of Cherokees who are regarded as simultaneously the most traditional and the most adaptive members of the entire tribe. Through historical research, contemporary fieldwork, and situational analysis, Sharlotte Neely explains the Snowbird paradox and portrays the inhabitants' daily lives and culture. At the core of her study are detailed examinations of two expressions of Snowbird's cultural self-awareness-its ongoing struggle for fair political representation on the tribal council and its yearly Trail of Tears Singing, a gathering point for all North Carolina and Oklahoma Cherokees concerned with cultural conservation.
Neely presents a thoughtful, readable study of a harmonious people coping with the pressures of preserving their traditions and adapting to change.
Based on fieldwork in Snowbird in the 1970s, Neely examines a variety of issues from ethnic identity to intratribal, intertribal, and interracial relations. . . . This important book brings to scholarly attention the existence of an Indian community we know little about.
—American Indian Quarterly
Although the Eastern Band of the Cherokee have been written about at length by anthropologists and scholars-from Hernando de Soto's chroniclers to today's anthropologists, and although the Cherokee have figured in novels, poetry, and drama, Sharlotte Neely 's work gives us fresh perspective. Snowbird Cherokees
not only provides valuable insights into Cherokee culture but also takes a look at a little-known and little-studied Cherokee community in the remote Snowbird Mountains of western North Carolina.
—Georgia Historical Quarterly