Sky Wildcat, a participant in the Remember the Removal Ride, is embraced in the Cherokee Nation capital of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, on June 21, 2018, upon the completion of the 1,000-mile journey retracing the Trail of Tears. Photo: Anadisgoi / Cherokee Nation
Cherokee Nation acquires historic site by Trail of Tears landmark
The Cherokee Nation has acquired a historic site next to a Trail of Tears landmark in Oklahoma.

The 60.81-acre parcel sits adjacent to the Oaks Indian Mission and a cemetery known as God’s Acre, The Tulsa World reported. The purchase will help protect the area from development and help the tribe rebuild its land base.

“The tribe believes in protecting sites that are historically significant as well as preserving it for the betterment of our tribal citizens and environment,” Chief Bill John Baker said in a press release on Thursday. “The Cherokee Nation is also stronger for the future when we add land within the jurisdiction of the tribe to our land base.”

The Oaks Indian Mission was initially established in 1842, following the tribe's forced removal from the southeastern United States. It now houses a residential school for mostly Native children, Baker said.

There are no immediate plans for the site, Baker said. Residents had been worried about a chicken farm development, as construction had started on a facility before the tribe bought the land from Tran & Tran LLC.

The purchase, which closed July 2, comes after the tribe celebrated the completion of the Remember the Removal Bike Ride. Young Cherokees rode nearly 1,000 miles through several states over three weeks, tracing the path of the Trail of Tears. They arrived in Oklahoma on June 21.

“These Cherokee men and women have honored our ancestors by riding hundreds and hundreds of miles from New Echota, Georgia, to the Cherokee Nation capital in Tahlequah, Oklahoma,” Baker said in a press release. “Along the way they have formed new bonds with fellow Cherokees, gained a deeper understanding of what their ancestors endured, and faced their own personal adversities only to defeat them, because that’s what Cherokees do. I am so proud of the 2018 Remember the Removal cyclists and what they have accomplished.”

Riders from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, whose reservation is located in North Carolina, also participated.

Read More on the Story:
Community effort leads tribe to buy Trail of Tears landmark, saving historic parcel from chicken farm development (The Tulsa World July 12, 2018)
Resurgence of poultry houses raises concerns in eastern Oklahoma counties (The Tulsa World June 14, 2018)

Related Stories:
Bill John Baker: Young Cherokees take part in annual Trail of Tears ride (June 1, 2018)