Diligwa Village gets new arbors while site closed
Diligwa Villager Steve Daugherty finishes the roof of an arbor in the Diligwa Village at the Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill. The arbors will be used to shelter staff and visitors from the sun and rain in the village, which is a popular attraction in the spring and summer. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Heritage Center Maintenance Supervisor Charles Foster, left, Diligwa Villager Steve Daugherty, CHC Special Projects Manager Ken Foster and Diligwa Villager Danny McCarter work on placing posts for new arbors in the Diligwa Village at the CHC in Park Hill. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Heritage Center Maintenance Supervisor Charles Foster, center, uses a level on a post for a new arbor being built at the Diligwa Village. Diligwa Villager Steve Daugherty, right, Danny McCarter, left, and Tim Grayson, digging a posthole, assisted Foster. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
The Diligwa Village is a popular attraction at the Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill. It opened in July 2013 and is a living exhibit set in 1710 that provides guests with an enhanced experience of authentic Cherokee life and history. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
PARK HILL – The Diligwa Village has been a popular attraction at the Cherokee Heritage Center for nearly six years. Opened in July 2013, the village is an outdoor living exhibit set in 1710 that provides guests with an enhanced experience of authentic Cherokee life and history. The first two weeks of the year the village was closed to allow workers to work on structures and add new ones.
“Right now we’re closed. We’re always closed the first two weeks of the year,” Diligwa Villager Danny McCarter. “Right now we’re putting up arbors. During those two weeks that we are closed this is the stuff we do, things we can’t do during the spring and summer.”
He said the arbors would shelter staff and visitors from the sun and rain in the village.
“According to Henry Timberlake (a British officer who lived with the Cherokee), there were arbors in front of the buildings, between the buildings. Traditionally, (Cherokee) houses weren’t built side by side. They were built right across from each other and in between there would be an arbor,” he said.
Cherokee men and women would do their cooking or work on crafts under the arbors, McCarter added.
CHC Special Projects Manager Ken Foster said he helps with “pretty much everything” at the CHC and helped dig holes for the posts holding up the arbors.
He said he and Diligwa Villager Tim Grayson determined the village needed more permanent arbors because the villagers had to build new arbors about every year and a half.
“We’ve been here five years, so we decided to make something that will last a little longer. We’re going to build five arbors, hopefully, and a corncrib,” Foster said.
When people visit Diligwa Village, they see villagers dressed in buckskin and trade clothing from the early 1700s. Villagers demonstrate how Cherokee people lived by weaving trade cloth, making clay pottery, flint knapping, playing stickball and fashioning and shooting bows and arrows and shooting darts from river cane blowguns.
“It really represents 1708 to 1710. That’s what this village represents,” he said.
Diligwa features 19 wattle and daub structures and 14 interpretive stations. Visitors can witness daily Cherokee life in 1710 as they are guided through the interpretive stations where Cherokee life ways are explained.
The village includes eight residential sites, each with a Cherokee summerhouse and winter house, a corncrib and a kitchen garden. The public complex consists of the primary council house and summer council pavilion overlooking a large plaza that served as the center of community activity.
Diligwa is a name derivative of Tellico, a village in the East that was once the principal Cherokee town and is now underwater. Tellico was the Cherokee Nation capital and center of commerce before the emergence of Echota in Monroe County, Tennessee.
Tellico was often referred to as the “wild rice place” and became synonymous with a native grain that grew in the flat open spaces of east Tennessee. Many believe when the Cherokees first arrived in Indian Territory, the native grasses that grew in the open spaces around the foothills of the Ozarks reminded them of the grassy open areas of Tellico. They called their new home “Di li gwa,” Tah-le-quah or Teh-li-co, “the open place where the grass grows.”
For more information about the CHC, call 918-456-6007 or 1-888-999-6007 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit http://www.CherokeeHeritage.org