Walk honors Trail of Tears
SHEFFIELD – Annie Cooper describes the Walk for Life as both a joyous and somber event.
The Sept. 13 walk commemorates the Trail of Tears journey by the Chickasaw and Creek tribes from Colbert County to Oklahoma.
"It's a memorial and celebration at the same time," said Cooper, secretary of the Southeastern Anthropological Institute and a Cherokee and Chickasaw descendant. "We walk as close to the (original) Trail of Tears route as possible."
Cooper said the walk, which began in 2003, didn't have a closing ceremony at first.
"We always started each walk with a ceremony but we didn't have a ceremony at the end," Cooper said. "Then one year the Chickasaw Council of Elders sang 'Amazing Grace' in their native tongue, and now we have an ending."
The featured guest of this year's walk is Jay McGirt, a member of the Creek Nation of Oklahoma and descendant of Chief Chilly McIntosh.
"We walk as close the (original) Trail of Tears route as possible," Cooper said. "There are so many people in Colbert and Franklin counties that share the same history, and we're expecting a lot of people from Russellville and the surrounding areas to participate in the walk."
The approximately 4-mile walk will begin at 9 a.m. at Tuscumbia Landing in City Park West off Blackwell Rd. in Sheffield. Trolleys will be available at Spring Park in Tuscumbia to shuttle walkers to the starting point beginning at 8:30 a.m. and also to carry participants during the walk.
For more information, call (256) 383-0783.