Demonstration of a blowgun at Ocanaluftee Indian Village in Cherokee, North Carolina.

Sacred and Traditional Items Stolen From Cherokee Historical Village

ICTMN Staff
9/6/12

A number of sacred and traditional items used by re-enactors portraying early Native American life at the Oconaluftee Indian Village in Cherokee, North Carolina were recently stolen reported Smoky Mountain News.

Assistant manager of the site, Davy Arch, said the items were stored in a loft of one of the buildings and they were taken during the night a couple of weeks ago.

“It’s really rare for something like this to happen,” Arch told Smoky Mountain News. “People have a lot of respect for the village and what we do here. Once in a great while we may have somebody come through and pick up something, but it’s rare to have anything taken from upstairs.”

Stolen items include a flint knife, an obsidian knife with bone handles, an elk horn, a tomahawk pipe and the most prized item, a 25-year-old blowgun belonging to William “Juggie” Swimmer.

Arch said Swimmer, a world champion blowgun expert, was “heartbroken” by the loss of the blowgun. It was made of hollowed-out rivercane and is used by blowing a dart through the chamber. Over time, using the blowgun improves accuracy and aim. After 25 years, this particular blowgun was near perfect for Swimmer.

Arch told Smoky Mountain News that no sign of could be found and that nothing else was found disturbed. Also, because of the uniqueness of the items, they will be easily recognizable.

“I think someone knew the things were there,” Arch said. “I think the thief was after the blowgun and the other objects taken were a crime of convenience.”

A reward is being offered for the recovery of the items. To report any information regarding the items, call the Cherokee Historical Association at 828-497-2111 or 828-736-6393.

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