The North Carolina Chapter of the
Trail of Tears Association

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 all routes and sites associated with the Trail of Tears in North Carolina and to work with the National Park Service to include the story of the Cherokee homeland in the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.



  • The Trail of Tears became a part of the National Trails System in 1987.
  • The Comprehensive Management and Use Plan was approved by the National Park Service in June, 1992.
  • For more information: Long Distance Trails Group Office – Santa Fe National Park Service P.O. Box 728 Santa Fe, NM 87504-0728 505-988-6888
  • 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. Additional information about the Association, the Trail, and other chapters is available from:
  • Trail of Tears Association 1100 North University, Suite 133 Little Rock, Arkansas 72207 501-666-9032
  • An array of membership opportunities and services are available, including periodic newsletters and discounts at various Cherokee historical and cultural attractions in Cherokee, NC, and Tahlequah, OK. Additional benefits will be added, as made available.
  • 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.

Get in Touch

President: Susan Abram
PO Box 607, Whittier, NC 28729