• What: Honor and Remember: 175 Years, Cherokee Trail of Tears
• When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 3-4
• Where: Red Clay State Historic Park, 1140 Red Clay Park Road, Cleveland, Tenn.
• Admission: $5 per car
• Phone: 423-478-0039
• Website: tnstateparks.com/Red Clay
Cherokee Days of Recognition is no more. But an event featuring and sponsored by the Eastern Band of Cherokees is right around the corner.
Honor and Remember: 175 Years, Cherokee Trail of Tears, a new event replacing the annual Cherokee Days of Recognition but offering some of the same events, will be this weekend, Aug. 3-4, at Red Clay State Historic Park in Cleveland, Tenn.
“No one will be demonstrating other than Cherokees,” says Ranger Jane Switzer. “They’re helping fund it. They’re picking [the participants] by hand.”
She says event planners wanted to return to an event centering on culture and crafts and ditch the “made in China” trinkets that had begun to populate the 30-year-old Days of Recognition.
“We wanted this to be a quality interpretive event,” Switzer says, “not [one with] knickknacks … distracting from the scene.”
The event will include popular activities from the Cherokee Days of Recognition, including dancers, storytellers, crafts, games, blowgun tournament, stickball, ranger-led hikes, birds of prey program, authentic food and other cultural activities.
The focus of Honor and Remember will be the 175th anniversary of the Cherokee Trail of Tears, the forced relocation to Oklahoma of many members of the American Indian nation who lived mostly in Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Alabama.
The Cherokee were the last of five major Indian nations to be removed. In 1838, about 13,000 Cherokees were rounded up and placed into a concentration camp near Cleveland before being marched west. The march began at Red Clay, the last Eastern capital of the Cherokee nation.
Switzer said previous Days of Recognition events attracted 4,000 to 5,000 people, and she hopes this year’s Honor and Remember will be attended by 6,000 to 7,000 people.
“The hope is we can connect the Cherokees with the rest of the populace in Tennessee,” she says. “We want people to get an idea of how things were in the 1830s” and how today the Eastern Band of Cherokees still has the know-how for — and continues to make — traditional crafts.