Native American Author Event
Blue Ridge book will host a reading and photo presentation by a new local author, Ronald R. Cooper. On Saturday, January 12 at 2:00 pm. The book is entitled, It's My Trail, Too: A Comanche Indian's Journey on the Cherokee Trail of Tears. A life-long wanderer, Ron Cooper was restless again and looking for a challenge. The "Triple Crown" hiking trails (Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trail--each over 2000 miles long) called to him but time, talent, and wife's support were in short supply. Undeterred, Cooper searched for a shorter trail with a purpose higher than simply enjoying the wilderness. He found it in the Cherokee Trail of Tears. Although recognized as a National Historic Trail by the National Park Service, the original path taken by over 15,000 Cherokee Indians on their forced march from Appalachia to the new Indian Territory in 1838 had never been properly identified and mapped. Cooper was determined to do just that, and spent several years researching this dark chapter in American history. In January of 2011, Cooper began walking the Trail of Tears as closely as possible - and often directly on - the original roadbed. The journey of 835 miles took him through six states and lasted over three months. He is the first person in modern times to undertake the trek and was therefore compelled to write a book about the experience. It's My Trail, Too is part trail guide and part memoir, with history of the Cherokee Removal woven throughout. Cooper also shares the challenges of long-distance hiking and his philosophy and experiences as a 21st century Native American - a perspective that is rarely heard and thought-provoking. It's My Trail, Too was independently published on October 15th, 2012, in advance of the 175th Anniversary of the Trail of Tears, which will be recognized in 2013. Ron Cooper currently lives in Whittier, North Carolina, and is employed at the Harrah's Cherokee Casino and Resort.