A program commemorating the 175th anniversary of the Trail of Tears is set for Saturday, September 28, at 1:00 p.m. at Pea Ridge Battlefield National Military Park in Garfield. The program will take place at Elkhorn Tavern, near a section of the original Military/Telegraph Road traveled by Cherokees during their forced removal from their ancestral eastern homelands to Indian Territory in 1838 and 1839.
The event includes remarks by Bethany Henry, a descendant of Cherokees who were forced to relocate to Indian Territory during the Trail of Tears. Henry, who is a graduate student in the University of Arkansas Department of History and also a park ranger with the National Park Service, will discuss “Honoring Our Ancestors through Government Service.”
Following Henry’s talk, the Cherokee National Youth Choir will perform. Then, those who would like to participate can take a short walk north on the Military/Telegraph Road. The road segment running through Pea Ridge National Military Park is one of the longest intact sections of the Trail of Tears in existence, according to John McLarty, president of the Arkansas Chapter Trail of Tears Association.
The commemoration is sponsored by the Arkansas Chapter Trail of Tears Association and Heritage Trail Partners. The Trail of Tears Association is a national support network for the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. Designated as a national historic trail by Congress in 1987, the Trail commemorates the forced removal of the Cherokee people from their homelands in the southeastern United States to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) in 1838-1839. The Arkansas Chapter focuses on the history and recognition of Indian removal routes through Arkansas. Heritage Trail Partners is a support network for the Heritage Trail, a network of bicycle, auto, and pedestrian routes that follow the footprint of the Trail of Tears (1838-1839), Butterfield Overland Mail route (1858-1861), and Civil War troop movements (1861-1865) in Northwest Arkansas.
The event is free. Those attending the dedication will need to check in at the park visitor center before proceeding to Elkhorn Tavern.
For more information, contact Susan Young at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History; 479-750-8165 or [email protected].