“A Story of Cherokee Removal” will be displayed through December 2018
TAHLEQUAH — Cherokee Nation recently opened a new exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the annual Cherokee Days festival.
“A Story of Cherokee Removal” shares the story of removal on the infamous Trail of Tears from the Cherokee perspective and addresses the devastating costs of greed and oppression. It also shows how the tribe persevered, adapted and learned to thrive.
“This new installation shares the unique Cherokee perspective of federal removal policies and focuses on the early history of our tribe in Indian Territory,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “It educates viewers about the circumstances surrounding the Trail of Tears and shows how our tribal government rebuilt itself by re-establishing schools and courts in modern-day Oklahoma. The perseverance to not only survive but to thrive is a story we are eager to share nationally and in our own voice.”
Featured within the exhibit are quotes from witnesses of the Cherokee Trail of Tears, historical timelines, a Trail of Tears route map and a video highlighting the Remember the Removal Bike Ride, in which young Cherokees retrace the 950-mile route on bicycles each year.
“This exhibit allows us the opportunity to share our story,” said Travis Owens, director of cultural tourism for Cherokee Nation Businesses. “Reading firsthand accounts from Trail of Tears survivors is extremely moving. We hope that by sharing this story from our perspective, we can help encourage the public to develop a deeper understanding of the magnitude of this event and the impact it had on our country.”
“A Story of Cherokee Removal” is on display in the Sealaska Gallery of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian through December 2018.