Today, I led an excursion myself. Instead of just checking in leaders and sending them off to terrific excursions, I went to Unto Those Hills, the Outdoor Drama in Cherokee.
Unto Those Hills tells the classic history of the Eastern Band of Cherokee before and after removal and the Trail of Tears. If you live in this area, you’ve absorbed the story.
But let’s face it, most of the people on the excursion didn’t know the story. In the global view of life, it is a small part of US history.
The best way to learn Cherokee history is to go to the Cherokee museum but the outdoor drama is an easy and lively way to get the gist. But I wonder if my group realized that this was a true story.
I learned a couple of new things myself. First, the name of the drama comes from the bible verse, Psalm 121
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
In the first part of the drama, they show the Cherokee helping Gen. Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, Alabama. This victory helped Jackson get promoted to Major General where he defeated the British in the battle of New Orleans.
When the Cherokee men come home, they celebrate with their families. See the picture above. To me, it looked like a scene out of the musical, Oklahoma.
Then came the Trail of Tears which forced the Cherokee to march to Oklahoma. Maybe that’s where they got their inspiration for the dancing.
The outdoor drama is really outdoors. It’s in a huge, uncovered amphitheater. So what if it rains?
The theater has a complicated rain date policy but of course, almost no one there would have been able to take advantage of it.
As soon as one drop of rain fell, my group started covering up. It didn’t rain much but that was the topic of conversation for too much of the time.
We drove back to Cullowhee in the dark and I just had to hope that every driver knew how to get back. I had given them driving instructions but it all looks different in the dark.
Everyone got back home safely and they enjoyed it. Will they remember anything? That’s another question.