CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Members of the Tennessee Trail of Tears Association agreed Sunday they will need all of the new year to plan commemorative events for 2013, the 175th anniversary year of the Cherokee removal.
The challenge will be to plan commemorative events along Trail of Tears routes without being overlooked because of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, which will be halfway through its five-year calendar of events by then, according to association members.
Many young U.S. Army officers in the Chattanooga region during the 1838 Indian removal events returned as senior commanders during the Civil War, said Shirley Lawrence, Tennessee Trail of Tears Association chapter president.
"I would like to see that whole year with events telling the story, accurately, about what happened," Lawrence said.
When the chapter meets again it will be 2012. Members said Sunday that, before then, other state chapters and interested organizations will be contacted to see how much interest there is in a series of 175th year commemorative events at appropriate sites between here and Oklahoma in 2013.
The association met Sunday at Red Hill United Methodist Church, which has a history going back to meetings during Cherokee removal times. Members also toured sites in the nearby Flint Springs area, including the last eastern farm of Cherokee Chief John Ross and the home believed to once have belonged to Judge John Martin, treasurer of the Cherokee Nation.
"I think this is one of the most unrecognized areas associated with the Trail of Tears," said local author and history promoter Debbie Moore.
Moore has started the process to have the Martin House listed on the National Trail of Tears.
Contact staff writer Randall Higgins at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-314-1029.