Trail Of Tears Association Analysis

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An important aspect after any tragedy, is how the survivors and the public remember the event. At time after a tragedy, memorials are built to honor and remember victims of the devastation. The Trail of Tears Association (TOTA) is a nonprofit organization that, “…support the creation, development, and interpretation of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail,” (Trail of Tears Association, 2016). The organization also works closely with the National Park Service in order promote protection of the trail as well as other important historical sites. The Trail of Tears Association has nine branches in nine different states. The Oklahoma chapter, “…has implemented a program to mark the graves of all known survivors of the Cherokee Trail of Tears,” …show more content…
Finding any graves that belonged to fallen members of the Cherokee Nation is the real challenge. Form eyewitness accounts and personal logs, we know that most Cherokee that died during the Trail of Tears were buried in shallow graves along the path. There have been little to no mention of people marking the graves nor are there really any records of burial locations (Di Naso, 2010). The best account of a burial record and location lies with Quatie Ross. Her burial was well known since she was the wife of the chief. She died February 1, 1839 near Little Rock, Arkansas. Her burial was rediscovered when, “…the broken sandstone grave marker was found under a building in the Mt. Holly Cemetery in Little Rock where graves from an earlier nineteenth-century cemetery had been moved. For preservation, this stone has been given to the Historic Arkansas Museum,” (King, 2005). It is unclear if the original headstone was prepared when she was buried, or if family members returned after their journey to mark her …show more content…
Most Native American tribes do not want burial remains to be studied or even removed from their location. The archaeologists and other scientists want to study the remains to fill the holes in history. However, the wishes of affiliated tribes should not be ignored. During the early 1980s, “…the scientific importance of excavating and retaining human bones outweighed any concerns of minority groups,” (Pearson, 2008). In fact, some archaeologists did not understand why the tribes were offended and not thankful for the scientific analysis. The archaeologists thought the tribes should be grateful for the science to replace their histories that were mostly based on myths. It was also frustrating to the archaeologists to have Native Americans say they, “…already knew their past through myth and spiritual communication since it was alive in the present…” (Pearson, 2008). There is not enough information about the burials because of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, or NAGPRA. This law calls for the greater protection for Native American burial sites and controls the removal process of human remains, funerary objects, and other sacred items. In most cases, NAGPRA encourages site preservation, and not to disturb the remains if the affiliated tribe does not want the remain to be unearthed. Cherokee burial practices do not want the deceased to be removed since, “…the body the soul entered grew smaller each year, until

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