Welcome to the North Carolina Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association
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 North Carolina. Click on the wayside exhibits below 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.
This website was made possible by a grant from the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership.
We are deeply saddened to share with you the passing of our friend, colleague and longtime archivist, Tom Mooney. Although not Cherokee, Tom dedicated almost four decades of his life to the Cherokee Heritage Center and the vast collection of more than 400,000 historical documents and items that he cared for during his tenure.
In 1987, Mooney authored “Exploring Your Cherokee Ancestry,” an award-winning basic genealogical research guide that is still in print today and can be purchased at the Cherokee Heritage Center gift shop.
In 2012, Mooney was awarded the Stalwart Award by the Cherokee National Historical Society. The award is given to a Cherokee Heritage Center supporter who has served as a longtime member, volunteer, employee, board member or associate and has significantly contributed to the center’s success.
Tom retired from the Cherokee Heritage Center in 2014, after 38 years. In 2015, he was honored by Principal Chief Baker with the Samuel Worcester award for exemplifying Cherokee Nation's values in the preservation of Cherokee culture and history.
Please keep his family in your prayers during this difficult time. ... See MoreSee Less