Cherokee advises all tourists to carry Cherokee Passport

In an attempt to exercise their sovereign rights and entice visitors as the summer tourist season approaches, the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians has announced a new program that encourages all reservation visitors to obtain a free Cherokee Passport. The program goes in to effect today, May 27. Here’s the full announcement:

CHEROKEE, N.C. – With the economy the number one concern and tourism the number one economy in Western North Carolina, the Qualla Boundary, the sovereign nation of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian, today unveils the Cherokee Passport, which it advises all visitors to the Cherokee Indian Reservation to obtain upon arrival. Beginning Thursday, May 27 at 1:30 p.m., Cherokee border patrol officials will conduct checkpoints to issue and verify passports.
The Qualla Boundary is a sovereign nation, and from the late 1700s to the early 1800s, visitors to the Boundary needed a passport to enter. As a reminder of its sovereignty, the Eastern Band is issuing the passport to visitors to jumpstart the local economy on summer’s opening weekend, Memorial Day weekend. Visitors to Cherokee are advised not to wander around Cherokee without a Cherokee Passport.

“Our economy and that of Western North Carolina subsists on tourism,” said Robert Jumper, tourism manager for Cherokee Travel and Promotion. “In support of the area’s businesses and to the help the economy, we have taken a dramatic step to remind visitors that Cherokee is a sovereign nation while providing a pioneering tool full of tourism incentives.”

New this year and full of great discounts at more than 20 shops, hotels, restaurants, retailers, attractions and businesses, the Cherokee Passport is a handy guide to all the activities, adventures and attractions in Cherokee, including 101 FREE Things to Do. It includes a detailed map of Cherokee that identifies participating retailers’ locations, designates hiking trails and ensures visitors can capture on camera and post to Facebook each of the painted bears throughout town. The passport can be picked up at the Welcome Center and its kiosks, all participating retailers and at participating hoteliers.

Additional coupons and discounts will be posted to throughout the year. A trip to Cherokee can fit nearly every budget, and the passport will help visitors stay on budget.

Experience authentic Cherokee culture brought to life in genuine, ancient Cherokee legends, history, tradition, song, dance, ceremony and fascinating period regalia. Cherokee offers activities, packages and itineraries that make visiting an affordable pleasure for all ages and interests. Visit cultural sites and enjoy cultural festivals, camping, tubing, hiking, wading, biking, birding, waterfalls, watermills, a pioneer village, cultural attractions, nostalgic shops and motor lodges, family fun parks, petting zoos, more than 30 miles of untamed trout waters, and Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Hotel. For more information about Cherokee, visit

About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

29 thoughts on “Cherokee advises all tourists to carry Cherokee Passport

  1. Roberto

    What a great way to encumber travelers and erode tourism in Cherokee. The best way to put the nail in the coffin, so-to-speak, is charge a fee for the passport. Who needs the additional hassles? That will nix our family’s summer-time day trips to that area of NC.

  2. david

    wow ok so i guess we nned to inposs a passport to come into united states owned counties hmmmm

  3. Immigrant

    So will they be checking your papers? Is this a response to the Immigration laws in Arizona? Will you be deported from Cherokee if you don’t have a passport? Terrible gimmick…who thinks this junk up? Don’t think I will be heading that way this summer.

  4. Nikki

    This may not be such a good idea. Many people will not want to have to worry about carrying a passport around, much less be stopped at checkpoints to have to show it. Just more hassle, which will cause them to probably lose business. Hopefully, it will work for them.

  5. Asheville Dweller

    Its just an idea to save some money, hardly the final nail in the coffin. No one is forcing you to participate, and if you went to the link instead jumping to conclusions its a FREE “Passport” or Coupon book.

  6. JWTJr

    Those dastardly Cherokees. How dare they flex muscle! They’ve had it too good for too long.

  7. dpewen

    Chubby indian needs to workout!! Those aren’t muscles … flabby body

  8. Asheville NATIVE!

    Sounds like just another great reason not to visit Cherokee. Free passport or not one is still going to have to fill it out. Why build more walls between us and the tribe. I guess I’ll recommend to my friends to keep their tourism $$ out of the tribal hands. So Sad!

  9. JOYCE


  10. Asheville Dweller

    Gotta love the open minds of Asheville, step outside the box and people get all bent out of Shape, the same ones complaining are the same ones that probably wont visit the Qualla boundry anyway, no big loss.

    It would be a shame for these folks to hear drumming that means something, or real culture or real art where master craftsmen practice their craft for thousands of year.

    Hate to burst Asheville’s bubble but Asheville doesnt support Cherokee so don’t go and stay in the little void of original thought town of Asheville.

  11. Why do I get the feeling some people comment before they read or understand the content of an article. It’s a coupon book you morons!

  12. Lamont Cranston

    You are spot on, “Christopher C NC”!

    “Reading is fundamental”, but comprehension is optional, I guess….

  13. Piffy!

    [b]Why do I get the feeling some people comment before they read or understand the content of an article[/b]

    Without going out on a limb i’d say because “their”* comments don’t seem to reflect an educated opinion?

    Also, i think it’s the same person.

  14. TokyoTaos

    Hey Asheville Dweller, you’re the one putting people in boxes – because of a few cranky comments on this thread from people who may or may not live in Asheville you decide all Ashevillians are closed minded and live in a bubble. I live in Asheville and I like the idea of the Cherokee Passport. I think it will help people to have more respect for the Cherokee Reservation and for its culture and history.

  15. Leadhorse

    its not enough, they all have to have passports from every tribe, and they will cost.. then we will have to arrest them and send them back to europe or where ever they are from.. the ORIGINAL BEINGS of the lands are with you! Leadhorse

  16. Mysterylogger

    No no TokyoTaos, Asheville does a fine job of showing its close box attitude. See the other topics they have posted on.

    Asheville is a Closeminded little town, its no secret you fall in lock step of this paper or NPR your part of the problem.

    Sorry folks I can think for myself.

  17. Jeff Fobes

    From the May 31 Asheville Citizen-Times by Jonathan Wolczak, four days after this post and the ensuing comment thread:

    “On Thursday, warriors representing a sovereign nation threw up a checkpoint about an hour west of Asheville and demanded to see the passports of passing motorists.

    Some panicked, including a woman on a motorcycle who fretted that she didn’t have her proper papers, but all were relieved when the “border patrol officers” cracked a smile.

    “It was all part of a creative publicity stunt organized to help promote the Cherokee reservation to tourists.

    “’So many tribal members depend on the tourism industry, as do many people in Western North Carolina, for their livelihood,’ said Jennifer McLucas, who helped organize the event with The Goss Agency, an Asheville advertising firm.

    “The ‘passport’ was really a booklet with discounts for local retailers, a detailed map and a list of 101 free things to do in the area.”

    To read the whole article, go here:

  18. Piffy!

    [b]Asheville is a Closeminded little town, its no secret you fall in lock step of this paper or NPR your part of the problem.

    Sorry folks I can think for myself. [/b]

    Unfortunately you seem unable to compose a functional thought in written form.

    Try again?

  19. Mysterylogger

    And once again pff fails at replying by attacking the structure of what was wrote. that tactic is very petty, even for a failure like pff.

  20. “Sorry folks I can think for myself.”

    Why don’t you THINK about renting a U-Haul, you really seem to hate it here.

  21. Jeff Fobes

    Unless we can get the comments back on track and more respectful, I think things may have run their course and Xpress will close the commenting on this post.

  22. Piffy!

    [b]And once again pff fails at replying by attacking the structure of what was wrote. that tactic is very petty, even for a failure like pff[/b]

    And once again mystery log (why wont he flush?!?) contradicts himself and fails at making a relevant, cogent thought, all in just two sentences!

  23. Piffy!

    AND, once again Jeff Fobes steps in to enforce an arbitrary rule every now and then because the moon was transit in venis.

  24. BigAl

    Passports for the kids to get stamped by every clan were a big hit at the Highland Games in Grandfather Mountain and Lake Norman. It is the “checkpoints” and the warnings not to wander the reservation without a passport that are worrisome to me. If the Cherokee really want more tourists, stop treating them like potential terrorists.

  25. Ronnie Dovel

    Cherokee is one of the greatest places in the world to visit it is by far more like heaven on earth .

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.