Man in Alabama honors Yuchi ancestor with unique memorial

The Wichahpi Commemorative Stone Wall in Alabama. Photo from Natchez Trace Travel

An Alabama man has created a unique and impressive memorial to his Yuchi great-great grandmother who was forced to leave her homeland and live in Oklahoma.

Tom Hendrix, 80, never met his ancestor Te-lah-nay. He grew up hearing stories about her life from his grandmother so he created a massive stone wall to honor those memories.

“We shall all pass through this earth,” Hendrix told visitors to his Wichahpi Commemorative Stone Wall , The New York Times reported. “Only stones remain. We honor our ancestors with stone.”

YouTube: Tom Hendrix - The Stone Talker in Threets Alabama

Te-lah-nay and the rest of her tribe were forced to leave the Tennessee River area in the 1830s. But she walked back home to Alabama to return to the singing river, or nunnuhsae, as the Tennessee is known in the Yuchi language.

“She made an incredible journey,” Hendrix told the Times. “I wasn’t going to build her an ordinary memorial.”

Today, most Yuchi live in Oklahoma and many are members of the Muscogee Nation and other tribes. Some went to Florida and joined the Seminole Tribe.

Get the Story:
Off Alabama’s Beaten Path, Tribute to a Native American’s Journey Home (The New York Times 7/23)

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