Commemorating 175 years since the Trail of Tears

Joyce C. Dugan Cultural Arts Center
Big Cove Road, Cherokee
Sue Abram
Nov 15, 2013
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

The North Carolina Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association is hosting a free symposium Friday, Nov. 15 at the Joyce C. Dugan Cultural Arts Center, Cherokee Central Schools on Big Cove Road, in Cherokee.

The symposium, “Remembering the Removal and Those Who Remained,” commemorates 175 years since the infamous Trail of Tears, which removed the majority of Cherokees from their southeastern homeland to Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma. The forced removal took place in 1838 and 1839. North Carolina’s history is unique in that, though most were removed, a group of Cherokees remained in the mountains and became the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI).

Running from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the symposium will feature scholars and experts who will share a variety of information regarding these historic events. Anthropologist Dr. Anne Rogers, who teaches at Western Carolina University (WCU) and is president of the N.C. Trail of Tears Association, will welcome visitors and introduce the speakers. At 9:15 a.m., Yona Wade will discuss the “Remember the Removal 2013 Bike Ride” over the Trail of Tears in which he participated. A member of the EBCI, Wade is director of the Joyce Dugan Cultural Arts Center. At 9:45 p.m., Executive Director of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation and Cherokee author, Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle will speak on “Penning Collective Memory: The Trail of Tears in Literature.” Dr. Ben Steere, University of West Georgia, will present on “Cherokee Towns and Mounds in WNC” in the pre-removal era.  The morning session will conclude with EBCI Cultural Resources Supervisor TJ Holland’s discussion on “Cherokee Removal in WNC.” Holland manages the Junaluska Memorial Site and Museum in Robbinsville.

The afternoon session will begin at 1 p.m. with Dr. Michael Abram’s discussion on “Cherokee Artistic Expression of the Trail of Tears.” Dr. Abram curates the Cherokee Heritage Museum Collection. Dr. Carolyn Ross Johnston from Eckerd College will follow with “Cherokee Women’s Voices on the Trail of Tears.” Dr. Johnston compiled and edited the recently released book, Voices of Cherokee Women. At 2:30 p.m., Tyler B. Howe, from the Tribal Historic Preservation Office, will explain the “Ethnogenesis of the EBCI and its Relationship to the Removal.”  At 3 p.m., Dr. Bill Jurgelski will present “A Foreshadowing of Future Woes,” focusing on the Treaty of 1819 and its effect on the WNC Cherokees. At 3:30 p.m., Russ Townsend, from the Tribal Historic Preservation Office, will conclude with Cherokee resistance to removal in WNC.

At 6 p.m., the NC TOTA will host a dinner at the Cultural Arts Center with Dr. Brett Riggs from UNC-Chapel Hill, an authority on removal in WNC, as the keynote speaker. There will be a short musical program before his presentation. Due to limited space, pre-registration is required ($25).

On Saturday, Nov. 16, the NC TOTA will host a pilgrimage by bus to important WNC removal sites, which will depart and arrive back at the Cultural Arts Center. Due to limited space, pre-paid registration is required ($40), which includes a box lunch.

For further information, contact Sue Abram at 227-2735 or or Anne Rogers at Mail registration checks to Anita Finger-Smith, 4999 Wolfetown Road, Cherokee, NC 28719. Payment must be received by Friday, Nov. 8. There is no charge for the symposium.