Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America
December 11, 1999

Walking in Memory
Adapted by Garnet1654 from an article
By Beccy Tanner
Wichita Online -

First local "Trail of Tears" memorial walk honors ancestry of Native American people.

The sun shown down on Jamie Kowalchick as she wrapped a blanket around her shoulders and prepared to honor her Native American ancestry.

"To me this is spiritual," she said.

Kowalchick was one of about 150 people Sunday who participated in Wichita's first "Trail of Tears" Memorial Walk. The walk started at the Wichita Indian United Methodist Church near Meridian and the Arkansas River, then continued along the bike path near the river to the Mid-America All Indian Center.

The original Trail of Tears march in the 1830s marked the removal of the Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek and Chickasaw Indians from the southeast United States to Oklahoma, a march in which more than 4,000 Indians died.

Painting by Robert Lindneux in the Woolaroc Museum, Bartlesville, Oklahoma

Routes taken by Relocated Nations

Larry Tonihka, the coordinator of the event and youth leader at the Wichita Indian United Methodist Church, said that in recent years members of all tribes, particularly those located in Oklahoma, have begun honoring their ancestors by observing and hosting walks.

Sunday's walk included prayers, mini powwow and dinner.

"This teaches me a lot about what my ancestors had to go through in their own Trail of Tears," Kowalchick said.

Cy Ahtone, a Kiowa and board member of the Mid-America All-Indian Center, said the walk was an excellent way for the various tribes to come together in unity.

"This is a way of us saying 'Here we are'."

Learn more about the Nations that were on the Trail of Tears
Burial On The Trail


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