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Founders Hall stands at the front entrance of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Hours after speaking at a ceremony to unveil the site of the future Moccasin Bend Visitor Center, Troy Wayne Poteete, Supreme Court Justice of the Cherokee Nation and executive director of the National Trail of Tears Association, will give a public speech on the Trail of Tears.

He is the featured speaker for the third of the three programs that comprise the Friends of Moccasin Bend's ninth annual Fall Lecture Series. He will speak tonight at 7 p.m. in UTC's University Center Auditorium.

Poteete's topic is the Trail of Tears, in honor of the Friends' continuing work with the National Park Service in rediscovering and reopening the historic Old Federal Road on Moccasin Bend as an historic and natural public hiking trail. The Old Federal Road was one of the principal routes used in the 1838 Cherokee Removal.

Poteete will discuss why his people mark the Trail of Tears, why they proudly commemorate this devastating part of their history, and how the Cherokee people use the Trail of Tears in facing the challenge of contemporary life. Poteete says, "We see our tribe not as victims, but as survivors. We draw inspiration from the fact that our ancestors persevered and did not accept defeat -- our identity as a Cherokee Nation is preserved."

Poteete practices law, serves his tribe as a Supreme Court Justice, and communicates Cherokee stories informed and illuminated by his upbringing in the South of the Cherokee Nation, 20 years of service in Cherokee government, and a lifelong study of Cherokee history.

The Moccasin Bend lectures are presented in collaboration with the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Geography at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. They are open to the public free of charge.

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