Thursday, Aug 25, 2011
Twenty-seven educators from Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee attended the first National Park Service Trail of Tears Teachers Workshop at the Little River Canyon Center in Fort Payne, Alabama, on the last week of July.
Park ranger Keena Graham and park guide Brenton Bellomy from Russell Cave National Monument organized the week-long event, which included presentations by renowned academic historians, National Park Service interpreters, and anthropologists from the Alabama and Georgia Trail of Tears associations. Topics covered different aspects of Indian removal policies, including the environmental impact of removal, the history of removal, and how tribes embraced African-Americans, European-Americans, and Hispanic-Americans.
Workshop attendees also visited Trail of Tears-related sites such as New Echota State Historic Site, which was known as the last capital of the Cherokee Nation before their removal. The group also visited Ross’s Landing in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where thousands of Cherokees were gathered to take the water route on the Tennessee River to the newly-established Indian Territory in Oklahoma. Additional evening programs for the general public were hosted at DeSoto State Park.
“The story of the Trail of Tears is not easy, comfortable history,” said superintendent John Bundy in his welcoming remarks, “but it is history we should know and remember.”