We love the Smoky Mountains. Wish you were here!

Native American Hoop Dancer Preserves Cherokee Traditions


Former World Champion Hoop Dancer Eddie Swimmer performs at the annual Swain County Heritage Festival in Bryson City, NC. Held each year on the Memorial Day weekend, the festival celebrates the rich Appalachian heritage of the Great Smoky Mountains, including the area’s original inhabitants, the Cherokee Nation.

Eddie uses between 36 and 42 hoops in his dance (see video), creating different arrangements of the hoops to make symbols including the eagle, turtle and butterfly. “Past generations felt it was necessary to drop the culture and heritage in order to move forward and make a living,” says Swimmer. “Now, generations want it all back. We are proud and want to bring the tradition back. Teaching people outside the culture is one way I can do that.” Read more about Eddie Swimmer on his website.

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