A memorial service will be held on May 18, 2013 at New Echota in Calhoun, Georgia and other commemorative events will be held throughout North Georgia in 2013.
The New Echota Treaty of 1835 relinquished Cherokee claims to land east of the Mississippi River. The majority of the Cherokee people considered the treaty fraudulent. On May 26, 1838 the United States Government and the State of Georgia began the forced removal of more than 16,000 Cherokee people from their homelands to Indian Territory (today known as Oklahoma).
Although the exact number is not known, disease, exposure, and sickness claimed thousands of Cherokee lives during the course of their capture, imprisonment, and removal. Their ordeal became known as the “Trail of Tears”. Today three federally recognized Cherokee sovereign nations exist: The Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma (Principal Chief Bill John Baker); the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, Oklahoma (Chief George Wickliffe); and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, North Carolina (Principal Chief Michell Hicks).
The 175 Years: Cherokee Trail of Tears Memorial Service - Honor and Remember is scheduled for Saturday, May 18th at 2:00 PM at the New Echota Cherokee Capital State Historic Site in Calhoun, GA. Presenters will include Cherokee tribal representatives and Jack Baker, President of the Trail of Tears Association. The All Nations Warrior Society Honor Guard accompanied by the Medicine Ridge Singers, from the Eastern Band of the Cherokee, NC, will conduct flag and honor ceremonies and place a wreath at the Trail of Tears Monument. Tommy Wildcat will represent the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma as their tribal emissary. Wildcat is a cultural educator, historical story teller and an internationally known recording artist and performer. Wildcat was the 2002 N.A.M.A. Flutist of the Year (Native American Music Awards) and the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee have utilized his recordings. Sammy Still will represent the United Keetoowah Band as their Public Information Officer and Editor of the Cherokee Gaduwa News (tribal newspaper). Still is a founding member of the Turtle Island Liars Club, wherein the telling of old traditional Cherokee stories is preserved. He is a traditional craftsman in blow guns, Indian bow and stickball making, basket weaving and is one of a few known Keetoowah makers of stone marbles. The memorial service at the New Echota Trail of Tears Monument is free and open to the pubic rain/shine (regular admission applies to museum/site tour).
During May – July 2013 an exhibit observing the Cherokee Trail of Tears that began in1838 will be at the I-75 South Georgia Visitor Information Center near Ringgold. Other commemorative events are being planned for 2013. Collaborating groups and museums include: Friends of New Echota, New Echota State Historic Site in Calhoun, the Georgia Trail of Tears Association, Friends of the Chief Vann House, Chief Vann House State Historic Site in Chatsworth, Red Clay Historic Area, Cleveland, TN, Funk Heritage Center at Reinhardt University in Waleska, Bandy Heritage Center of Dalton State College, Northeast Georgia History Center of Brenau University in Gainesville, the Chieftains Museum/Major Ridge Home in Rome, the Georgia Department of Economic Development/Regional Tourism, and the Georgia Visitor Information Center on I-75 South/Ringgold.
Opportunities are available to become involved or volunteer. Inquiries about the memorial service and visiting New Echota State Historic Site may be sent to email@example.com or call 706-624-1321. Tax-deductible donations to support these efforts may be made payable to Friends of New Echota State Historic Site and mailed to FONE, P. O. Box 643, Resaca, GA 30735-0643.