Cherokee Studies faculty involved in trails system anniversary event

Three faculty members representing WCU’s Cherokee Studies Program participated in an event held Oct. 29 to mark the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System.

The Department of History’s Andrew Denson and Sue Abram conducted much of the planning for the event, which was sponsored by the North Carolina chapter of the Trail of Tears Association. The gathering took place at the Nantahala Outdoor Center in Wesser at the junction of two national trails – the Appalachian Trail and the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, which commemorates the removal of the Cherokee people from the Southeast to present-day Oklahoma in the 1830s.

Brett Riggs, WCU’s Sequoyah Distinguished Professor of Cherokee Studies, spoke at the event about the history of the Cherokee removal in Western North Carolina. Guests included Principal Chief Richard Sneed of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Superintendent Aaron Mahr of the National Trails Intermountain Region Office.

The association is a nonprofit that supports and interprets the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. Abram serves as president of the North Carolina chapter of the association.