5 THINGS TO KNOW: How to participate in annual Trail of Tears Memorial Walk

May 1—The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma gives information on how to participate in this year's Trail of Tears Memorial Walk in Tvshka Homma on May 18.

1 What is the Trail of Tears Memorial Walk?

The annual walk is held to honor the Choctaws that were forced to march from their homelands in Alabama and Mississippi, to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. With the first wave in 1831, Choctaws were the first tribe to cover the Trail of Tears.

This year marks the 193rd anniversary of the first Choctaws who journeyed from their ancestral homes. Around one-quarter of those who were removed perished on the journey.

2 Who can participate in the walk?

Members of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and all others wanting to honor and remember those tribal ancestors who made the original Trail of Tears journey in the 1830s are invited to join in.

3 What other events will be held before the walk?

Gates will open on the Living Village of the historic capitol grounds at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 18. In the Living Village before the walk begins, member service booths will be available with live cultural demonstrations.

Opening ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. and will include prayer, a presentation by Choctaw Royalty, and an address by Chief Gary Batton. Chief Batton, Assistant Chief Jack Austin Jr., and the Choctaw Honor Guard are scheduled to lead the walk.

4 How long is the walk?

The walk is 2.5 miles. Water stations will be placed throughout the walk.

5 How many people on average participate in the walk?

An average of 500 tribal members participate in the walk every year with more present to show their support.

—Derrick James