The Little Rock campus at the University of Arkansas dedicated a small park commemorating a portion of the historic Trail of Tears on October 12. That small park will someday, according to an article at Arkansasnews.com, be a 47-acre greenway with bike and walking trails, benches and bridges along Coleman Creek, which cuts through the campus.
The park commemorates the forced relocation of two of the five Native American nations from southeastern parts of the United States after the Indian Removal Act of 1830. According to the article, Dan Littlefield, director of the Sequoyah National Research Center on the UALR campus, said Choctaws and Chickasaws traveled across the state near where the park is today. Members of the Cherokee, Creek and Seminole tribes were also relocated, but Littlefield said they traversed a more northern route through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri.
“We know that representatives of all these tribes came through the state somewhere,” Littlefield said. “And we know the routes of the Choctaws and Chickasaws came through this very area where we are.”
The college was praised for the dedication by Sue Folsom, executive director of cultural events for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
“I can feel the heart beats that went through. I can hear the foot steps that went through here on their way to Oklahoma, not knowing where they were going, not knowing what to expect when they got there,” Folsom said in the Arkansasnews.com article.
“They had the courage to take that long journey and they had the knowledge to know that we have to keep our traditions and our culture, our songs, our dances, alive. That’s what we’ve been doing and that’s what we’ll always do.”
To further commemorate the Trail of Tears, the state of Arkansas will hold a Trail of Tears Weekend November 11-13 in Wynne, when you can join a park interpreter for a guided hike along the trail and view short films about the Trail of Tears. Admission is free, for a full schedule of events call 870-238-9406 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.