Cultural Exchange

Cultural Exchange: Tribes from across the Americans unite in Cherokee
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Acrowd stands in awe, watching four men twirl 100 feet off the ground—sans safety nets— suspended by ropes tied to their ankles. It’s a ritual of the Totonac pole flyers of Mexico, one of 12 indigenous groups from across the Americas that will captivate audiences at the annual Festival of Native Peoples in Cherokee this month. “They come as educators—not as entertainers—to share their cultures,” explains Robert Jumper, program manager for Cherokee Travel & Promotions. Visitors can learn through storytelling, song, and dance, shop for native crafts at the art market, as well as talk with the performers. From the Inca Son band of the Peruvian Andes to the Apache Crown Dancers of Arizona, it’s a chance to discover living traditions far beyond these mountains. Festival of native peoples July 16 & 17 Cherokee; 1-(800) 438-1601

Photographs (2) by Adam Taylor, 2009