In May 2012, the Cherokee Healing and Wellness Coalition sponsored a Journey to Forgiveness and Healing where 16 Eastern Cherokees and six non-Cherokee friends met with members of the Cherokee Nation and United Keetoowah Band in Tahlequah, Okla. before retracing the Northern Route of the Trail of Tears.
Two videographers accompanied the group. From the many hours of footage, several Coalition members edited the highlights of the journey. The result is nine (9) documentaries which are packaged in sets. Although the documentaries are primarily about Cherokee people, the concept of historical grief and trauma applies to all ethnic groups and particularly to those who are not of the dominant culture. All people have experienced historical grief and trauma in some way, and everyone needs to begin the process to forgive and bring about healing.
The suggested donation for a complete set of the documentaries is $100 payable to Healing and Wellness Coalition, but any amount will be greatly appreciated. Checks can be sent to Healing and Wellness Coalition at 214 Dry Bone Road, Whittier, NC 28789.
Following is a summary of each DVD:
1. Journey to Forgiveness: The Beginning (50 minutes)
Patty Grant explains how the Journey to Forgiveness came about and her reflections about historical grief and trauma, forgiveness, etc.
2. Journey to Forgiveness: History to Unity (60 minutes)
The members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) who traveled from Cherokee meet with members of the Cherokee Nation and United Keetoowah Band (UKB). This was the first time since the removal in 1838 that members of all three Cherokee tribes formally came together. The DVD includes excerpts from presentations by Cherokee Nation Chief Bill John Baker and UKB Vice Chief Charles Locust, tribal elder Jim Henson, tribal historian, counselors as well as EBCI members and those who traveled with them.
3. Journey to Forgiveness: Healing Messages from an Elder (74 minutes)
Jim Henson, UKB elder and former Chief and Tribal Council member, speaks of healing, forgiveness and advice for parenting.
4. Journey to Forgiveness: Retracing the Trail of Tears (Part 1) (32 minutes)
Includes highlights from retracing the Northern Route of the Trail of Tears with stops and ceremonies at Star Ranch Trail Segment near Cassville and Purdy, Mo. and Trail of Tears State Park near Jackson, Mo.
5. Journey to Forgiveness: Retracing the Trail of Tears (Part 2) (58 minutes)
Highlights from retracing the Northern Route of the Trail of Tears stops and ceremonies at Cherokee Removal Memorial Park at Blythe Ferry near Birchwood, Tenn.; Red Clay Historical Park near Cleveland, Tenn. and New Echota Historical Site at Calhoun, Ga.
6. Journey to Forgiveness: Homecoming (60 minutes)
Upon returning to Cherokee, those on the journey, family and friends came together at Kituwah for presentations by former Principal Chief Joyce Dugan and Cherokee Historian Tom Belt on the significance of Kituwah, and reflections from those who went on the journey.
7. Journey to Forgiveness: Universal Gathering (69 minutes)
Cherokees and non-Cherokees gathered for presentations by various speakers including Patty Grant, State Representative Joe Sam Queen, Dr. Ann Bullock, Hugh Lambert, Rev. Jack Russell, Amy Walker, Youth Council members and others who went on the journey.
8. Journey to Forgiveness: The White Bison Perspective (45 minutes)
Don Coyhis, founder of White Bison, Inc., who facilitated many of the journey ceremonies, shares his thoughts on forgiveness and healing.
9. Journey to Forgiveness: The Dominant Culture Perspective (28 minutes)
Craig White, a non-Cherokee Coalition member who went on the journey, shares ideas and personal reflections about forgiveness and healing.
For more information about the Healing and Wellness Coalition or the documentaries, contact Chairperson Beth Farris at 828-421-9855 or email@example.com or Treasurer Mary Herr at 828-497-9498 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Cherokee Healing and Wellness Coalition