About North Carolina Trail of Tears Association

Discover the narratives and landmarks of the Trail of Tears in North Carolina

The Trail of Tears Association (TOTA) is a non-profit organization formed in 1993 to support the development and interpretation of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. Designated by Congress in 1987, the National Trail commemorates the forced removal of Cherokee people from their homelands in the southeastern United States to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) in the late 1830s. TOTA maintains chapters in each of the nine states containing segments of the Trail.

This website presents the work of TOTA members in the North Carolina chapter. Click on the Wayside Exhibits  to learn about significant sites we have marked and interpreted in recent years. Follow the maps to visit the sites yourself and experience the story of Cherokee struggle, resistance, and perseverance in Western North Carolina.

The Trail of Tears: A Historical Overview

Understanding Cherokee History

The mountain region of what is today Western North Carolina was the center of the Cherokee homeland. Here, Cherokees built their towns and farmed the valleys formed by the Tuckasegee, Little Tennessee, Hiwasee, and other rivers.  The Trail of Tears is not only a story of loss and injustice, but a story of resistance, tenacity, and revival.


Locate Wayside Exhibits

Visit the wayside exhibits marking the Cherokee journey through the Trail of Tears in North Carolina

This website was made possible by a grant from the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership  and Cherokee Preservation Foundation.

Cherokee Preservation Foundation logo
Trail of Tears Association logo