TUSKAHOMA – While typical Oklahoma spring weather looms for this weekend, excitement grows for the 2017 Choctaw Nation Trail of Tears Walk and Heritage Day activities. In addition to the Walk, traditional cultural demonstrations are scheduled, and more than a dozen artists, plus vendors will have booths.
The 1830’s Trail of Tears saw the tribe’s forced removal from its ancestral home in the southeastern United States and resettlement in southeast Indian Territory. It is the Choctaw survivors, and those whose lives were lost that are commemorated almost 200 years later. The public is invited to join the Choctaw Nation Trail of Tears Walk and Heritage Day starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 20.
A close eye is being kept on weekend weather developments by organizers, who say at this point the walk is still on. However, walkers should come prepared. Rain jackets and umbrellas are suggested.
The 2.5-mile trek will begin at the Chahta Village on the original Choctaw Capitol Grounds at Tvshka Homma. Signage will show where walkers should line up.
Kevin Gwin, Senior Director of Tvshka Homma Grounds and Special Projects for the Choctaw Nation, said that a light breakfast will be available before the start of the Walk, and along the way there will be water stations, first aid, and pick-up vehicles to help walkers needing assistance.
Even if rain and wind challenge the walkers, Heritage Day activities will be comfortable. If needed, those outdoor plans will be moved inside the Arts & Crafts Building. A short program will be presented on stage, and cultural demonstrations, such as basket weaving, pottery making, stickball, and traditional Choctaw dancing will take place.
A large tent will cover 14 Choctaw artists’ booths. Paintings, pottery, medicine bags, beadwork, flutes, knives, bows and arrows, and handmade stuffed animals will be among items displayed and for sale. This year’s artists include Dianna Bundrandt, Jacob Cross, Dale Cushman, Jennifer Davidson, Mary Frazier, Haleigh Gibson, Paul Hacker, David Lawrence, Gwen Coleman Lester, Lynda Kay Sawyer, Sarah Elisabeth Sawyer, Diana Laroque, Debra Miller, and Linda Parish.
Additional vendors will be offering mementoes and gift shopping.
For information, contact Cultural Events, 800-522-6170, for Gwin at Ext. 2517, or Sue Folsom, Ext. 2134.
Submitted by Choctaw Nation.