May 18, 2021
TVSHKA HOMMA, Okla. – Members of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) remembered the journey of their ancestors at the 2021 Trail of Tears Memorial Walk. The COVID pandemic prevented a live walk in 2020. Held on the Historic Capitol Grounds of Tvshka Homma, the event returned Saturday, May 15. An estimated 700 tribal members and friends participated in the symbolic walk of two-and-a-half miles, with at least that many in attendance to show support.
This year marks 190 years since the first Choctaws journeyed from their ancestral home of Mississippi to the Indian Territory. Nearly 15,000 tribal members traveled on this and subsequent removals, which became known as the Trail of Tears and Death. About one-quarter of those who were removed perished on the journey.
While the walk itself was somber in remembrance, pride in roots and joy in survival were on display with cultural demonstrations in the Village, programs and services booths, and a ceremony that included Choctaw Royalty signing to “The Lord’s Prayer” in the Choctaw language. Speakers recapped the history and offered prayer.
Before launching the walk, Chief Gary Batton gave a word to the dozens of volunteers working for the event’s success. “There is no better way to show them that we are family.”
Speaking at the ceremony, Chief Batton said, “It does my heart good to see everybody back together,” adding that it is the first event since the pandemic that the Choctaw Nation has been able to get back together. “It is appropriate,” he said, “that it is to honor our elders.”
Photo by Chris Jennings/Choctaw Nation
With the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Color Guard leading the way, an estimated 700 people join the 2021 Trail of Tears Memorial Walk Saturday, May 15 at Tvshka Homma.
About The Choctaw Nation
The Choctaw Nation is the third-largest Indian Nation in the United States with more than 200,000 tribal members and 10,000-plus associates. This ancient people has an oral tradition dating back over 13,000 years. The first tribe over the Trail of Tears, its historic reservation boundaries are in the southeast corner of Oklahoma, covering 10,923 square miles. The Choctaw Nation’s vision, “Living out the Chahta Spirit of faith, family and culture,” is evident as it continues to focus on providing opportunities for growth and prosperity. For more information about the Choctaw Nation, its culture, heritage and traditions, please go to www.choctawnation.com.