FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFTA) — More than 150 years ago, thousands of Native Americans passed through the Natural State on their way to Oklahoma.
“I actually didn’t grow up knowing a lot about my culture, I just knew that I was Chahta,” Olivia Morgan with the Native American Student Association said.
When Morgan was in high school, her interest in her Native American heritage was sparked.
Now, she’s making her culture a presence on the University of Arkansas campus.
“I wanted to get more in touch with my culture. I knew I was Chahta, but I didn’t know what that meant. I didn’t know what it meant to be Chahta,” Morgan said.
On Monday, students and city leaders set out on a march of remembrance, walking across campus to this location at the intersection of MLK and Stadium Drive. In 1839, a group of Cherokee camped out on their journey to Oklahoma.
“We really do this to exemplify the tribes throughout the United States. There are over 500 different federally recognized tribes,” Morgan said.
Mayor Lioneld Jordan delivered a proclamation at the Trail of Tears marker, that October 8 be recognized as Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Fayetteville.
“There was about 1,100 I think different tribes that came through Fayetteville during that long journey through the different states, so we want to bring the attention to that but we also want to know that that sort of thing should never happen again.” Jordan said.
A celebration to recognize a big piece of history that is often forgotten.
“We do that to kind of remember, most of it we try to do it in general is remembering, so showing the contemporary part of it. We’re still here, we’re still alive,” Morgan said.