May 31 2013
On June 7, 2013 a small group of Unificationists will leave the nation’s capital to retrace one of the routes taken by 17,000 Cherokees as they were forcibly removed from their ancestral homeland in the southeastern United States and forced to walk nearly 1,000 miles along what became known as the “Trail of Tears.” They will travel from Georgia through Tennessee and Arkansas to Oklahoma. The journey concludes in Tahlequah, Oklahoma with an offering ceremony on June 15, 2013.
According to historical accounts, one fourth of the marchers died along the way of exposure, exhaustion and hunger. Many children and elders had died before they arrived in Tahlequah, the end of the trail. The terrible trauma and injustices suffered by the original inhabitants of this nation have left spiritual scars on all Americans, not only those forced to leave their homes and country.
In order to facilitate the healing process, the group of blessed wives will visit many of the locations along the trail in order to educate themselves, repent for the sins of our forefathers, and to hear the stories of the descendants of those forced into exile. Storytelling is a powerful tool of healing. In the spirit of Jacob hoping to reconcile with Esau, gifts will be offered along the way to museums, to educational groups, and to individuals who preserve this sad story for future generations. Along the way, the group plans to meet with ACLC churches and Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) chapters to listen to and share. As the motto for this year in WFWP is “Spirituality, Healing, and Service,” WFWP USA President Angelika Selle has said that providentially the time has come to take this step to substantially reconcile with America’s First People, and this project is a way to begin this healing of the heart of the indigenous people of America. In addition, along the way, many will be eager to tell their story and fellowship with the travelers.
It has been said that the sins of the fathers are vested on the children to the seventh generation. If a generation is about 25 years, then it has been 7 generations (175) years since the last group of exiles began their soul-crushing journey westward. We are in a new age. We can’t wait any longer to right the wrongs of the past, even if only symbolically. The first steps are to acknowledge that it happened, find out exactly what did happen and repent that such an awful thing did happen.
This Trail of Tears prayer journey was conceived by Rev. Claire Daugherty and was discussed by blessed wives in 2007 during the observance of the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Jamestown settlement in Virginia. At that time, a WFWP Bridge of Peace ceremony was held for the descendants of founding fathers and 10 native nations with the loving support of ACLC Women in Ministry. From that time, a core group of sisters, including Rev. Dr. Linda Lucero Nishikawa, Minister Reiko Jenkins, Rev. Claire Daugherty, Mrs. Brenda Miller and Mrs. Katherine Cromwell, began working together with America’s First People in the Metro D.C. Area.
This group of women, who shared a common calling to heal the historical wounds of this nation, christened this effort, "Peacemakers for Sacred Healing." In 2008 the Peacemakers for Sacred Healing went to Plymouth, Massachusetts to hear the stories of the Wampanoag leaders. In 2010, during the 120th anniversary of the massacre at Wounded Knee, a delegation visited the mass grave of the casualties at Wounded Knee, South Dakota to pay their respects and to bring the good news of the coming kingdom.
Those who would like to support this effort may do so with prayers and financial support. Donations for the effort, which are tax-deductible, may be sent to the WFWP, Suite 3015, 481 Eighth Ave. New York, N.Y. 10001. Please write "Trail of Tears Fund" on the memo line. For more information, visit the following website: peacemakersforsacredhealing.weebly.com.
Itinerary for the Trail of Tears Prayer Journey
Friday, June 7, 2013
Leave Maryland and Virginia and drive to Calhoun, GA, the historical capital of the original Cherokee Nation known as New Echota, GA.
Stay in Calhoun in preparation for the opening ceremony on Saturday morning.
Saturday, June 8, 2013
Hold the “beginning ceremony.” Tour historic sites in Calhoun.
Leave Calhoun for Chattanooga. (48.21 miles, 48 minutes to Chattanooga)
Stay overnight in Chattanooga.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
Visit historic sites in Chattanooga; travel to arrive in Pulaski, TN (127 miles, 2 hrs. 26 minutes) by 2 p.m for a Trail of Tears guided tour. Drive to Nashville for a barbeque, campfire and storytelling hosted by Cherokee women.
Stay overnight in Nashville.
Monday, June 10, 2013
Leave Nashville, drive to Bolivar, TN (123.67 miles, 2 hrs. 38 minutes). Meet Monita and hear the story of Bolivar. Travel on to Bartlett, TN (near Memphis) (52.73 miles, 1 hr. 6 minutes) and on to Randolph, TN.
Stay overnight at Second Chickasaw Bluff, a sacred Native chalet.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Tour Memphis area with Mr. Swisher.
Stay one more night at the chalet.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Leave Randolph area, travel to Marion, AR. Walk the actual trail there.
This segment of the old Memphis-to-Little Rock road is cut deep into the Crowley’s Ridge soil and has been touted as the most dramatic remaining section of the Indian removal route.
Drive on to Little Rock, AR (130.37 miles, 2 hrs to Little Rock).
Overnight in Little Rock.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Travel from Little Rock to Fort Smith, Arkansas (158.34 miles, 2 hrs. 33 minutes). Visit Fort Smith National Historic Site. Stay at a campground overnight.
Friday, June 14, 2013
Leave Fort Smith, AR and travel to Tahlequah, OK (69.55 miles, 1 hr. 28 min.).
Sleep in Tahlequah.
Saturday, June 15, 2013
9 a.m. Offering Ceremony. We will start when all who are meant to be present are there. Offer the journey to Heavenly Parent, True Parents, First People and celebrate with all people gathered.
Travel to El Reno, OK area to prepare for Pow Wow the next day. (195 miles, 3 hrs. 15 minutes)
Evening: BBQ at Rev. Marilyn Kotulek’s home in Oklahoma City.
Stay overnight in Oklahoma City for next day’s Pow Wow.
Sunday, June 16
Help prepare for the Pow Wow, or
Sightseeing with Rev. Kotulek.
Annual Father’s Day Pow Wow Honoring Chief George Akeen (one of the 44 Chiefs of the Cheyenne) begins at 2pm.
Attend Pow Wow.
Monday, June 17
After goodbyes, hugs, etc., leave for home, some by plane, some by car and van.
Contributed by Peacemakers for Sacred Healing: Claire Daughtery, Katherine Cromwell and Brenda Miller.