Choctaw Trail of Tears to be Remembered at Walk

TUSKAHOMA – The Trail of Tears is a Choctaw survival story. That is why it is remembered, and has become an event of commemoration almost 200 years later.

The public is invited to join the 2017 Trail of Tears Walk and Heritage Day starting at 10 a.m. May 20. The Walk will begin in the authentic Chahta Village on the original Choctaw Capitol Grounds at Tvshka Homma.

Kevin Gwin, Senior Director of Tvshka Homma Grounds and Special Projects for the Choctaw Nation, said they are expecting 2,500 walkers this year.

“The Walk will be the same two-and-a-half mile distance as last year,” Gwin said, adding that a light breakfast will be available before the start of the Walk, and there will be water stations, first aid, and pick-up vehicles to help walkers along the way.

A short ceremony will open the event. Walkers then will leave the Village and follow a 2.5 mile route that will return to a designated stage area on the Capitol Grounds. The Walk will wind mostly over two-lane country roads through the scenic Potato Hills of Pushmataha County.  Along the way, signs will note inspiring commentary by past leaders of the Choctaw Nation.

Gwin added that, at the conclusion of the Walk, a short program will be presented on stage, and cultural demonstrations, such as basket weaving, pottery making, stickball, and traditional Choctaw dancing will take place.  Also, a large tent will shade Choctaw artist booths and other vendors offering mementoes and gift shopping.

All activities are in close proximity to the Historic Choctaw Council Building.

Gwin said, “Shuttles will be available to assist elders, walkers on the trail and to deliver people to and from parking sites.”

The annual Trail of Tears Walk and Heritage Day is held to honor those Choctaws who, when the United States of America began its expansion west, were removed from their ancient homelands, in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisianaand Mississippi, and forced into southeastern Indian Territory, now Oklahoma.  With the first group leaving in 1831, Choctaws were the pioneer tribe on the Trail of Tears. Of the approximately 11,500 Choctaws who made the journey, 2,500 lives were lost.

Less than two centuries since that time, Choctaw people have emerged to become the third largest Indian nation in the country, and a major economic factor for the State of Oklahoma. In addition, Choctaw cultural heritage continues to reach new heights in preservation.

For information, contact Gwin in Cultural Events, 800-522-6170, Ext. 2517, or Sue Folsom, Ext. 2134. or click here 2017 Trail of Tears Commemorative Walk Also See Choctaw Trail of Tears to be Remembered at Walk