Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Berry's Trail of Tears Bill Passes House

Our state has good reason to celebrate. The U.S. House of Representatives passed my Trail of Tears Documentation Act last evening - moving us one step closer to completing the National Historic Trail of Tears which runs through eight states including Arkansas. When Congress authorized the trail in 1987, it didn't have enough evidence to include all the routes traveled by the Cherokee in their massive migration west. Now we have identified two other major routes that pass through our state.

These routes are shown in green below. The southern route or the Bell Route, traveled by John Bell's Treaty Party across Tennessee and Arkansas, heads up the Arkansas River through Little Rock and Fort Smith. The northern route or the Benge Route, used by Cherokee leader John Benge's detachment, begins in Ft. Payne, Alabama, passing through Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, and northern Arkansas, before arriving in Oklahoma. My bill would ask the Secretary of the Interior to study these routes and incorporate them into the national landmark.

Click here to read the full press release.