April 29, 2011

Man walks Trail of Tears

Mo. man walks Trail of Tears to preserve history

By Renee JeanHe is a Comanche and a Kiowa, recreating a trail of Cherokee tears, but the names of the tribes are not the important thing, Ron Cooper says. The tears all had the same salt and copper tang, no matter which tribe shed them.

"The Trail of Tears is all part of the same story," Cooper says. "The Cherokee were not the only tribe to walk—and die—along the trail of tears. Many tribes were forced to take this way. Choctaws, Creeks, Seminoles, Chickasaws, and Cherokees."

The Trail of Tears is the story of Indian Removal. And it is, in its way, also the story of one Ron Cooper, a descendant of Kiowa and Comanche tribes, born and raised in Lawton, Oklahoma. He is 1/8 Kiowa and 3/8 Comanche.
Reading Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee at 17 inspired Cooper:"Ever since reading that book, I have been learning whatever I can about all the different tribes, not just Comanche. And just relating it to why I'm walking this, I can relate to all the other tribes who struggled to keep their way of life alive. It didn't matter what part of the country they were in, what tribe they were. We had the same struggle. And so you have a Comanche walking the Cherokee Trail of Tears."

The northern route of the Trail of Tears went through Libertyville, Farmington and Doe Run, then meandered a little bit south of Bismarck on its way to Steelville. The northern route that Cooper is walking covers 835 miles in all.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Remember the Removal 2010 and Trail of Tears Bike Ride.

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