The Cherokee people have a long history that is at times beautiful and tragic. Learning about their legends and early history can help one appreciate the culture in a way that is not possible by exploring only modern day tribal activities.
Part of understanding the culture of a Native American group can only come by knowing the creation story of that group. The Legend of the Great Buzzard is the Cherokee creation story that describes, specifically, the mountainous areas of Cherokee land.
The Cherokee were first introduced to Europeans in 1540 when they met Hernando De Soto. History for Kids has an excellent account of this meeting as well as some nice images of De Soto and Cherokee. Cherokee History talks more about the expedition as well as its impact on the Cherokee.
The New York Times wrote a comprehensive article that begins with an overview of the history of the Cherokee and then moves on to cultural specifics and information about current Cherokee lands. Cherokee History has a detailed historical account of the Cherokee people as well as images, maps, and primary sources.
The Cherokee Nation has a great deal of information on the modern day activities of the tribe as well as detailed information about its current governmental structure, cultural interests, and organizational resources.
The Cherokee people have managed to survive and thrive in America despite a difficult history. The culture continues to flourish and maintain many of the traditional beliefs and cultural customs while at the same time creating modern opportunities for tribal members.