The City of Hopkinsville celebrated another successful energy filled Pow Wow this past weekend.
In 1838 and 1839, as part of Andrew Jackson’s Indian removal policy, the Cherokee nation was forced to give up its lands east of the Mississippi River and to migrate to an area in present day to Oklahoma. In the midst of migrating, Native Americans named their journey the “Trail of Tears.”
This journey had devastating effects. The migrants faced hunger, disease, and exhaustion on the forced march. Over 4,000 out of 15,000 of the Cherokees migrating died.
During their journey to freedom, tribes occupied campgrounds in Hopkinsville.
And on the first weekend after Labor Day, for 34 years and counting, the descendants of several tribes honor their ancestors at the Trail of Tears Commemorative Park with the annual Trail of Tear Pow Wow.
The Pow Wow is a gathering for the community with emphasis on Native American people celebrating their rich heritage.
Some of the tribes present over the weekend were Choctaw, Muscogee, Creek, Chickasaw, Seminole and Cherokee.
Vendors from all over came with merchandise for sale such as beautiful feathers, jewels, hand crafted knives, dream catchers and much more.
People in the community were seen enjoying some of the most delicious traditional Native Indian dishes: fry bread and Choctaw Indian tacos.
Children danced with family and friends throughout the gathering. As well as meeting other children who came to watch the show.
From the drums, the bells attached to their clothes amongst the singing, there was a beautiful synergy among the tribes present honoring of their ancestors.
One of the best events of the night were the contest held amongst the tribes best native pride dancers. In Native American cultures, dance is a way of expression, a language in itself. It’s a source of freedom, meditation, and unity.
The Cherokee Trail of Tears Commemorative Park in Hopkinsville is one of only a few documented campsites along the Trail of Tears.
The Trail of Tears covers nine states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
The location in Hopkinsville where Native Americans camped in 1838, is considered sacred grounds.
The city of Hopkinsville will continue to remember and honor those who perished fighting to keep their loved ones together and protected.
The Trail of Tears annual Pow Wow in Hopkinsville reminds us how important family is, and how staying as a united front has its own power.