It’s been nearly two centuries since the federal government forcibly marched 125,000 Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians from their ancestral homes in the southeastern United States to Oklahoma.
The march became known as the Trail of Tears because of the vast numbers of American Indians who died through disease, starvation and exposure.
In recent decades, members of all tribes have begun honoring their ancestors by organizing memorial walks. This year’s walk is sponsored by the Mid-American All Indian Center, the Wichita Indian Methodist Church, Indigenous Families for Youth and Hunter Health Clinic. It is the 13th annual walk in Wichita in which people of all tribes come together to honor the American Indian legacy of survival.
This year’s events begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, when Jason Felihkatubbe, a Chocktaw, will offer a historical perspective of the Trail of Tears at the Mid-American All Indian Center. The event is free and open to the public.
At noon, a shuttle will take participants from the Indian Center to the Wichita Indian United Methodist Church, 1111 N. Meridian, where the two-mile walk will begin at 1 p.m.
After participants finish the walk, they will be invited into the Indian Center, where there will be American Indian-themed activities for both children and adults: artists’ booths showing how to make baskets, do beadwork and flintknapping.
A station about the Hunter Health Clinic will also be made available.
Last year, more than 100 people participated in the Trail of Tears walk.
For more information, contact the Mid-America All Indian Center at 316-350-3340.