unto these hills

While visiting our Smoky Mountain cabin, you should check out the outdoor drama Unto These Hills, performed at the Mountainside Theatre in Cherokee, NC. The play is actually the second oldest outdoor drama currently running in the entire United States, as it first opened on July 1, 1950.

Unto These Hills is about the demise of the Cherokee Tribe of the Eastern Region, as they are forcefully removed from their land to a reservation in Oklahoma. Over 4,000 Cherokee lost their lives during this relocation that occurred in 1938. It is a painful story of our country's past, as a bill passed in Congress by a single vote allowed the states of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessess, and Alabama to round up the Cherokee and place them in prison camps until their deportation to Oklahoma. Most of the deaths were attributed to disease and starvation while at the prison camps. The production is a touching real life story of heroism and evil that you will not forget.

Starting in 1996, playwright Hanay Geiogama (pronounced "han-A GIG-a-ma") began directing the show. Geiogamah co-founded the American Indian Theater Ensemble and was senior producer for the PBS series "Native Americans in the 21st Century." He works mainly as a professor at the University of California Las Angeles in Theatre, Film, and Television, but also works on many other projects. He produced many of the Turner Network's Native American project's feature films, including "Geronimo" and "Crazy Horse," and was principal writer for the six-hour 1994 documentary series "The Native Americans," for Turner Broadcasting System.

Since Geiogamah began working on the play, it has shifted towards more of a theatrical musical. The number of dances in the show has more than doubled, while keeping the storyline intact to preserve the full drama of the actual historic events. The script has also been revised to include two important elements of history that were not included in the original play. Tribal life was very equal, with women sharing as much responsibility as men. Second, the original script did not completely reveal the great sense of humor the Cherokee people have always posessed.

Unto These Hills generally runs from Mid-June through the end of August every year. If you are visiting Cherokee Cabin during this time period, it is worth an afternoon or evening to see this historic Play.

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