Photo by Anna Mize

For an RV sight-seeing stop after touring North Carolina's scenic roads of the Smokey Mountains, make your way to the highway 44 entrance and visit the Cherokee Indian Reservation where you can catch a piece of history in a recent art project. 

Cherokee reservation bank groups formed to design and paint several fiberglass bears.  The bear's sculpture design is the same for each, while the paintings vary and depict aspects of Cherokee life with vibrant artistry so much a part of the tribal culture.

   

Photos by Anna Mize

One displays the quaint folk aspects of life, and another shows a modern design against a white background.  The groups endeavor to show many of the talented artists within the community.

   

Photo by Anna Mize

Our favorites include paintings of the beautiful surrounding wildlife.  The blues and greens with the revered animal life show the peaceful relationship of the Cherokee people in their natural environment.

Photo by Anna Mize

We saw this one painted in national colors with an overlay of Cherokee symbolism due to the prominence of an eagle and historical leaders pictured on it.  The powerful patriotic heritage of the Cherokee people spoke from this beautiful bear.  The project members chose bears due to the close relationship of the animal to the Cherokee people. 

The dozen or so painted bears are dispersed throughout the business district of the Cherokee Indian Reservation.  Local literature states there are more to come.  The chance to learn more about Cherokee tribal history in this touching art makes it worth the visit.

Going down the Rogue River in Oregon on the Hellgate tour was a thrill!  We took the whole family for the dinner cruise.  Good food and plenty of splash from the 360 degree boat turns afterward.  It was a day to remember.  Thanks for the tip!     
   - Fergerson Family