Exiting the North Carolina side of either Great Smoky Mountains National Park or the Blue Ridge Parkway, you’ll find this monument at the entrance to the Cherokee Indian Reservation. You are greeted first with the written language of the Cherokee Indians and then, in smaller font, English. During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, native American children were removed from their homes by the U.S. government and sent to boarding schools where they were not allowed to speak any language but English. As you might imagine, these practices nearly wiped out the spoken languages of many tribes. The Cherokee Indians are making a concerted effort to restore their written and spoken language, and every sign throughout the Reservation is written in both English and Cherokee.
My wife and I took my folks to the Smokies over the weekend, which also means lunch in Cherokee, NC. A few years ago, the Tribe built a couple casinos which have turned out to be quite successful. The Reservation is now awash in new construction and we were greeted by this new monument as we entered town.