Trail of Tears marker dedicated in North Carolina
A new marker includes the familiar Trail of Tears Historic Route sign and a sign that gives the mileage to Woodhall’s Depot in Westville, Oklahoma, 895 miles from the marker, and Fort Lindsay, North Carolina, which was a round-up camp for Cherokees. The camp was located 5 miles from the marker’s location. Woodhall’s Depot was a site at the end of the trail where Cherokee people could gather supplies when they arrived in Indian Territory. AHLI-SHA LITTLEJOHN STEPHENS
Trail of Tears Association President Jack Baker speaks to people attending an Oct. 29 ceremony in Wesser, North Carolina, to dedicate a Trail of Tears marker. BROOKE LEANN COGGINS
WESSER, N.C. – As part of a commemoration of the Cherokee Removal that ended 180 years ago, a new Trail of Tears marker was dedication on Oct. 29 at the Nantahala Outdoor Center.
The marker includes the familiar Trail of Tears Historic Route sign and a sign that gives the mileage to Woodhall’s Depot in Westville, Oklahoma, 895 miles from the marker, and Fort Lindsay, which was a round-up camp for Cherokees. The camp was located 5 miles from the marker’s location. Woodhall’s Depot was a site at the end of the trail where Cherokee people could gather supplies when they arrived in Indian Territory.
“The marker placed at the Nantahala River is most important because it designates one of the origin points for the longest journeys on the Trail,” Dr. Brett Riggs, historian and At-large Trail of Tears Association board member, said. “The people who left from Fort Lindsay were at the northeastern-most corner of the (Cherokee) Nation. Also, many of the people from the lower Nantahala Valley evaded the soldiers, and the signs are placed about a half mile from the homes of Old Charley (Tsali) and Oochella, who were principals in that last big manhunt of the removal.”
The North Carolina Trail of Tears Association hosted the sign dedication. Chapter President Susan Abram said the sign was the first National Trail of Tears Historic Trail sign to be placed in North Carolina at the Nantahala Outdoor Center.
“Looking around, I realized that even a horrific happening like the forced removal of Cherokees 180 years ago can remind us to never forget and to hope that our nation has moved past these kinds of shameful actions,” she said. “I saw Americans, Cherokees included, coming together to share in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System, which demonstrates that this group persevered and has even thrived despite past tribulations.”
The Oct. 29 ceremony also commemorated the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act that has allowed the National Park Service and its partners to locate and mark removal trails and campsites. Representatives from the North Carolina Trail of Tears Association, Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, NPS, Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians attended the ceremony.
“The placement of theses signs will ensure that our story is not forgotten and will serve as a reminder of our ancestors who lost their lives along the Trail of Tears,” EBCI Principal Chief Richard Sneed said.
In 1987, Congress designated the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail for protection and interpretation by the NPS. Today, the trails are recognized as traveling through nine states, and more than 5,000 miles of water and land routes are included in the trails.