Two yellow and red floral wreaths were placed on either side of the Bells Route Trail of Tears memorial Wednesday, marking the 175th anniversary of the 1837-1838 forced removal of the Tribal People of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole .Nations to Oklahoma.
Lt. Edward Deas led a group of Cherokee from Chattanooga to Indian Territory, now known as Oklahoma. The route, which traveled along a path that is today Highway 64, has come to be known as the Bell’s Route of the Trail of Tears for John Bell, a Cherokee who traveled with the group.
In October 1838, Deas bought supplies from Lincoln County farmers and merchants to feed and clothe up to 800 of the Cherokee Indians along the journey.
Debbie “Shattuck” Capino and Annie Gurton, dressed in Cherokee 19th century clothing, were joined for the wreath laying ceremony by County Mayor Peggy Bevels and Perry Hall, CEO of Southeastern Grants & Urban Planning LLC.
A remembrance of the Trail of Tears will be held on Saturday, Oct. 27, with the eighth annual re-enactment of the Bells Route Trail of Tears walk beginning on Adams Street at 10 a.m. Participants are meeting on Adams Street about 9:30 a.m.
This group will walk the route in honor of the many Cherokee ancestors who were marched through Fayetteville-Lincoln County in 1838. The re-enactors, including re-enactors representing Lt. Edward Deas, will walk to the Lincoln County Courthouse Square where they will join the third annual Living History on the Square, which will be held from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Veterans from all wars are encouraged to attend and will be honored during the event.
“American indigenous people honor all warriors in this country,” Debbie “Shattuck” Capino, organizer of the annual event, stated.
“Spectators are invited to join us on the courthouse square or anywhere along the route,” Capino noted. “You are welcome to join us as we walk the trail of the ancestors. Period dress would be nice, but is not necessary.”
They may watch people dressed in period clothing stroll around the square. Civil War re-enactors will be part of the event, as well as Girl Scouts dressed in period clothing playing games of the 1800’s. Businesses around the square are encouraged to wear period dress.
The goal of this event is to give children and adults a clear insight into 19th century history.
This year, a Native American vendor will be cooking buffalo, elk and venison dishes, and Native American Jewelry will be sold.
Everyone is encouraged to participate or watch this free event and learn about local history.
Veterans are asked to please contact Capino before Oct. 25. To contact Capino, call her at 937-4644 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the event, go to http://firstnationspeople.org/shattuck/renact.htm.