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Paying respect to the ancestors who blazed the trail

Remembering in numbers walking as one

By STEPHENIE OCHOA
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

   Spectacular weather and great spirits helped to gather hundreds at Millerton to commemorate the Trail of Tears walk this year. While thoughts about the diffi cult journey of ancestral Choctaws saddens many, the march to remember is a celebrated event of a united people who survived and now thrive with confidence and strength more than 180 years after the harsh 500-mile trek to "Indian Territory."

   Participants began the day by meeting in Millerton to receive the blessing of fellowship and inspiring words of tribute, strength, and leadership from Chief Gary Batton.

   After prayer from Tribal Chaplain Rev. Bertram Bobb and inspirational words from Chief Batton, walkers lined up behind the Choctaw Color Guard, Choctaw Princesses, Chief Batton, Assistant Chief Jack Austin Jr. and Tribal Council members. Hundreds walked together over 3 miles to the historical Wheelock Academy. Along the journey of paying homage there were tears of pride for how far a people have come, shows of personal perseverance as many walked with aides, Choctaw hymns and lots of smiles and laughs.

   Of those who participated in this year's walk were many that traveled numerous miles to participate as a family including sisters Nanette Easter, Normette Moore, and Lucinda Barr from the Houston and Lake Jackson area of Texas.

   Isha Martin traveled from Kansas City to meet and walk with her father Aaron Martin from Woodward.

   Chief Batton reminded visitors the purpose of the commemorative walk by stating, "It's the story of the Choctaw people, keeping our language, our culture, our history; that resilience and strong belief in God and values, that's what it's all about: You, our people. So I just want to thank you all for coming out today and paying respect to the people who have gone before us and blazed the trail so that we have a beautiful day like we have today." Visitors shared a picnic lunch, stickball games, singing and fellowship on the lush grounds celebrating as one.

Figure 1

                                                                                             Choctaw Nation: ZACH MAXWELL
This article and others came from the Choctaw Nation Biskinik. To see more history please refer to the following sites.
www.choctawnation.com
www.choctawnationculture.com

 

 
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