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Diligwa is new name for a Cherokee Heritage Center exhibit

Courtesy Cherokee Heritage Center

TAHLEQUAH, Oklahoma — The new outdoor living exhibit scheduled to open in May at the Cherokee Heritage Center will be called Diligwa.

The name, a derivative of Tellico, a village in east Tennessee that was once the principal Cherokee town and is now underwater, will replace the Tsalagi Ancient Village, which has been the name of the exhibit since it opened in 1967.

The exhibit was originally designed as an interpretive area to showcase Cherokee daily life prior to European contact.

“The new outdoor living exhibit will provide guests with an enhanced experience of authentic Cherokee life and history,” said Barbara L. Girty, interim deputy executive director at the Cherokee Heritage Center. “What’s now presented in the Ancient Village is limited by the research and resources that were available in its day. Diligwa will be the most authentic Cherokee experience based on life in the early 1700s.”

The new outdoor living exhibit is estimated to cost $1.2 million.

The new village will provide visitors the chance to experience Cherokee life in the early 18th century and will feature 19 wattle-and-daub structures, 14 interpretive stations and a detailed historic landscape set on four acres adjacent to the Cherokee Heritage Center.

In addition, two recreation areas featuring a marble field and a stickball field will showcase the Cherokee games that are still played today. The village will be anchored with native foliage and flora common to the Southeast.