Staff file photo by Tim Barber / In this photo from March 2016, Cherokee Nation Supreme Court Justice Troy Wayne Poteete, left, is seen with local businessman Greg Vital and TWRA Game Warden Jason Jackson during a trip to Jolly's Island, considered one of the best American Indian archaeological sites in the country.


What: Trail of Tears symposium

When: Sept. 12 at 6 p.m.

Where: Second floor of Colloms Campus Center on East College Street

More information: Tennessee Trail of Tears president Debbie Moore at

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McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy recently completed the University of Tennessee Certified County Officials Program. Guy is one of only 4 Sheriffs in the state who have graduated from the program.

The Tennessee Trail of Tears Association and Tennessee Wesleyan University in Athens, Tennessee, will host a free Trail of Tears educational symposium at 6 p.m. on Sept. 12.

The event is open to the public and will be at the Colloms Campus Center on Tennessee Wesleyan's campus in downtown Athens, organizers said.

Guest speakers for the evening will be Joe Guy, the county historian and sheriff, and Cherokee Nation representative Troy Wayne Poteet, Tennessee Trail of Tears Association president Debbie Moore said in a statement.

Guy has published three books on Southeast Tennessee history and for the symposium will discuss the Walker family of McMinn and Bradley counties, according to Moore. Guy will focus on Major John Walker, who fought as a Cherokee officer with Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. The Walkers openly supported the removal of the Cherokee from the East. Guy will discuss the causes and effects of the assassination of Walker's son, Jack Walker, Moore said.

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In this photo provided by the Hermitage, Troy Wayne Poteete is seen speaking during a news conference at the Hermitage, Wednesday, March 15, 2006, in Nashville, Tenn. President Andrew Jackson gave the order that started the Trail of Tears, the cruel removal of American Indians to west of the Mississippi River. Now Jackson's plantation home near Nashville, the Hermitage, has been named as an official site along the historical trail that commemorates the Trail of Tears. (AP Photo/The Hermitage) **NO SALES**

Troy Wayne Poteete, a resident of Webber's Falls, Oklahoma, is the executive director of the Trail of Tears Association and a former chief justice of the Cherokee Supreme Court. Moore said Poteete "will explore the motives behind the Cherokee who signed the 1835 Treaty of New Echota that led to the removal of the Cherokee from their native homelands in the East in 1838."

"These Trail of Tears Symposiums are a great way to tell these stories of the people and events that caused the Trail of Tears," Guy said. "We try to give a lot of background history that people may not know about."

Guy was glad to be teamed with Poteete.

"It is always great to be on the program with Troy Wayne Poteete," Guy said. "His presentations are lively, entertaining, and most of all highly informative."

Contact Ben Benton at or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at