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.


  • aquoheecourthouse_thumbAquohee District Courthouse.

  • “scott-thumb"Camp Scott

  • CherCoMuseum300x225Cherokee County Historical Museum

  • hiding-thumb2Creek Resistance in Hanging Dog Mtns.

  • Fort ButlerFort Butler

  • delaney-thumbnailFort Delaney

  • Fort HembreeFort Hembree

  • Lindsay-thumbnailFort Lindsay

  • Fort Montgomery

  • StateThumbnailGreat State & Old Army Roads

  • junaluska-thumbnailJunaluska Memorial

  • MOCI-thumbMuseum of the Cherokee Indian

  • nantahalathumbNantahala Town

  • quallathumbQualla Town

  • UnakaRoadSanitized-thumbUnicoy Turnpike

  • hiding-thumb2Valley River Resistance

  • indian_school-thumbValley Town Baptist Mission

From Facebook

7 days ago

North Carolina Trail of Tears Association

Congratulations to Tom Belt on his retirement from Western Carolina University! Tom serves on the NCTOTA Board and has worked at WCU for thirteen years. ... See MoreSee Less

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1 week ago

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dedicated almost four decades of his life to the Cherokee Heritage Center and the vast collection of more than 400,000 historical documents and items that he cared for during his tenure.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.
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Here is more on Andy Denson's book receiving the Malcolm and Muriel Barrow Bell Award:

On November 27, the Georgia Historical Society honored Dr. Andrew Denson of Western Carolina University and Dr. William T. Okie of Kennesaw State University as co-winners of the 2018 Malcolm and Muriel Barrow Bell Award for the best book on Georgia history in a presentation at Kennesaw State University.

Dr. Andrew Denson is the author of Monuments to Absence: Cherokee Removal and the Contest Over Southern Memory (Univ. of North Carolina Press). Dr. William Thomas Okie is the author of The Georgia Peach: Culture, Agriculture, and Environment in the American South (Cambridge Univ. Press).

Established in 1992 and named for Malcolm Bell, Jr. and Muriel Barrow Bell in recognition of their contributions to the recording of Georgia’s history, the Bell Award recognizes the best book on Georgia history published in the previous year.
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