1200 miles on The Trail of Tears
In the summer of 2018 Ian will be following a new important story, a walk of 1200 miles from the ancestral lands of the Cherokee in the Great Smokey Mountains via the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma. The Trail of Tears was a series of forced removals of Native American nations from their ancestral homelands. Following this river and mountain route I will not only tell the story of the Trail of Tears with clarity and truth but plan to meet with members of the vibrant Cherokee culture today. This 3-month northern route of the TOT encompasses The Great Smokey Mountains, The Tennessee River, The Land Between the Lakes, Shawnee National Forest, Mark Twain National Park and the Ozark National Forest. The Trail of Tears is not only a story of loss and injustice, but a story of resistance, tenacity, and revival.
One of the pivotal aspects of the expedition will be to walk smaller sections with an older member of the Cherokee Nation to form a direct link to the original story, also to walk larger sections with a younger member of CN to explore the landscape of their heritage. By walking and meeting with members of CN Ian plans to learn about the visceral components of the historic story which is a pivotal moment in Cherokee history. Ian also has plans to spend some time, post expedition, to understand the modern day colour and depth of Cherokee culture.