The University of Alabama

UA’s Moundville Park Remembers Trail of Tears

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama’s Moundville Archaeological Park will hold its first 5K walk memorializing the Trail of Tears Saturday, May 25.

The event, “Full Circle: Transcending the Trail of Tears,” will feature presentations, book signings, video viewing and more.

“This event seeks to reverse the cultural barriers and misconceptions that propagated the Trail of Tears,” said Betsy Irwin, the park’s education outreach coordinator. “By promoting cultural understanding of who the Southeastern Indian people were and are, we hope to help heal the wounds generated through prejudice and unawareness.”

Beginning in the 1830s, the United States government adopted a policy that resulted in the widespread removal of Southeastern Indians from the Moundville area, Irwin said. Although typically associated with the Cherokee removal, the term “Trail of Tears” now represents the mass displacement of people from numerous tribes over the course of almost a decade, she added.

In addition to the commemorative walk, visitors will have an opportunity to hear from Ron Cooper, a member of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma who walked the Northern Route of the Cherokee Trail of Tears National Historic Trail as a personal adventure of self-reflection and chronicled his journey in his book “It’s My Trail Too: A Comanche Indian’s Journey on the Cherokee Trail of Tears.” Cooper will be available for book signings and discussions following the walk.

Those interested can also watch a video of another walk commemorating the Chickasaw Trail of Tears, which is held annually in Tuscumbia. Walk organizers Robert Perry and Annie Cooper Perry will be on hand to answer questions and autograph videotapes and books.

Chickasaw author Robert Perry has written three books — “Life with the Little People,” “Uprising! Woody Crumbo’s Indian Art” and “The Turkey Feather Cape: My Creation from Beyond History.” The last documents his journey of recreating a feather cape styled after those worn by Southeastern Indians during prehistoric and early historic times.

The event will begin at noon with the walk starting at 1:30 p.m. There is no entry fee for participating in the commemorative walk, but park entrance fees will apply. Native Americans with tribal identification are always admitted free.

UA’s Moundville Archaeological Park is 13 miles south of Tuscaloosa off Alabama 69. Described as the Big Apple of the 14th century, Moundville was America’s largest city north of Mexico 800 years ago. This National Historic Landmark, part of UA Museums, contains 320 acres with more than 20 preserved prehistoric Indian mounds, campgrounds, picnic areas, boardwalk nature trail, theater, Riverbend Lodge and a museum of some of the finest Mississippian-era artifacts in North America.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

  • CONTACT: Kim Eaton, UA media relations, 205/348-8325, kkeaton@ur.ua.edu
  • SOURCE: Betsy Irwin, education outreach coordinator, 205/371-2234, birwin@ua.edu