- Cultural Calendar
September 16 is known as National Trail of Tears Remembrance Day, and it marks the tragic anniversary of the day when the last Cherokees arrived in Oklahoma in 1838.
The date marks the shameful tragedy and bloodshed enacted by the U.S. Government upon the five nations of Indigenous Americans (Cherokee, Muscogee Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole) they forced to leave their lands. It was begun by the passage of the Indian Removal Act in 1830, and culminated in the bloodshed and forced removal of 1837 that ended thousands of painful miles later—on foot—in 1838.
Ultimately, it is estimated that over 60,000 Indigenous men, women, and children were driven from their homes and lands—homes they had occupied for thousands of years. Over 18,000 Cherokees, as well as thousands of other Indigenous Americans, walked the Trail of Tears to their deaths in 1837, even as they died of hunger and exhaustion. Many of these people (men, women, and children) were then kept in concentration camps that imprisoned them while many passed away from starvation and disease in horrific and inhumane conditions. According to many accounts, no one over 60 or under 6 survived.
Organized by Muscogee Creek Tribe member Melba Checote-Eads, the "Trail of Tears Walk" has been held for the past 15 years in Mt. Juliet and Woodbury, Tennessee on September 16 and 17 annually, honoring those from all of the tribes who walked as well as the many who perished. The trail now encompasses about 2,200 miles of land and water routes, and traverses portions of nine states.
Learn more at https://www.nps.gov/trte/index.htm.