North Carolina Trail of Tears Association

About Our Chapter

The Trail of Tears Association envisions the identification, interpretation, protection, and preservation of Trail of Tears National Historic Trail resources in their entirety so that future generations may learn about and enjoy an interactive Trail experience and tribal, local, and state communities can draw lessons from and honor the memory of those involved with the Trail of Tears. Our chapter is dedicated to documenting routes and sites associated with the Trail of Tears in North Carolina and sharing the story of the Cherokee homeland.

In the spring and summer of 1838, the United States removed more than 15,000 Cherokee Indians from their ancestral homeland in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. Held in camps through the summer, they were then forced to travel over 1,000 miles, under adverse conditions to Indian Territory, which is now Oklahoma. Thousands died. The Cherokees came to call the event Nunahi-Duna-Dlo-Hilu-I or the Trail Where They Cried.

This catastrophic journey, one of the darker events in American history, not only affected the Cherokee, but has symbolized the removal of the other Southeastern and Eastern Indian tribes. The grim result of U.S. Government American Indian Removal Policy, the forced relocations devastated American Indian cultures.

THE MISSION In 1987, Congress passed Public Law 100-192, designating two of the routes taken by the Cherokee people in their removal as a National Historic Trail within the National Trails System. The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail is administered by the National Park Service.

In 1993, under the auspices of the Secretary of the Interior and the Trail of Tears Advisory Council, the Trail of Tears Association was created and incorporated in Missouri as a non-profit organization. The corporation papers were signed by the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation and the Principal Chief, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

The Association has entered into a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service to promote and engage in the protection and preservation of Trail of Tears National Historic Trail resources; to promote awareness of the Trail’s legacy, including the effects of the U.S. Government’s Indian Removal Policy on the Cherokees and other tribes; and to perpetuate the management and development techniques that are consistent with the National Park Service’s trail plan.

The North Carolina Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association is dedicated to documenting routes and sites associated with the Trail of Tears in North Carolina and sharing the story of the Cherokee homeland. 

North Carolina TOTA Chapter

We are a volunteer board located in Cherokee, NC on the Qualla Boundary.  Our board consists of thirteen Directors, including four Officers and one immediate Past President.

The seven Elected Directors have four year staggered terms. Two Association Directors are appointed to the National Board with 2 yr. staggered terms.

NC TOTA logo

Facts About The National Trail Of Tears Program

National Trails System

The Trail of Tears became a part of the National Trails System in 1987.

Management Plan Approval

The Comprehensive Management and Use Plan was approved by the National Park Service in June, 1992.

Long Distance Trails Group Office

Long Distance Trails Group Office – Santa Fe National Park Service. Contact:
P.O. Box 728 Santa Fe, NM 87504-0728
(P) 505-988-6888

Association Incorporation

The Trail of Tears Association, incorporated in 1993, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, and all donations are tax deductible, as allowed by law. Contact:
Trail of Tears Association 1100 North University, Suite 133 Little Rock, Arkansas 72207
(P) 501-666-9032

State Chapters

Members of the Association may also join a state chapter that addresses the more specific issues in each state, such as membership development, chapter organization and other efforts that assist the Association and the National Park Service in achieving their goals and objectives.