Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Woman Walks the 800-Mile Trail of Tears (Video) *Belinda Miller honors her Cherokee ancestors*

Belinda Miller with children she met during her journey

The Creator's Voice Belinda Miller, a 56-year-old member of the Lakota Blackfoot tribe, discovered she was also Cherokee. Then, she heard her Creator's voice, "Belinda, your heart and soul are separated, you need to cry with the elders to become whole". She knew she had to follow the path of her Cherokee ancestors in the 1830s and trek the Trail of Tears. Belinda proceeded to not only "walk" the Trail of Tears, but pulled a 150-pound cart which carried everything she would need for the journey, including her cat Precious and dog Baby Girl. Belinda may be the first woman ever to retrace the heartbreaking journey of the forced removal of tribes, by gunpoint, from the southeastern United States to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. Many Native Americans died on the forced march from their ancestral homes to Indian Territory.

The Elders' Voices Belinda Miller pulled her cart during the day and camped out at night. She began in her home state of Alabama and continued onwards through Tennessee and Arkansas towards her destination in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. "I didn't feel half the pain they went through, but I touched on it," Belinda said. "It made me cry, I cried a lot on the trail." As she cried, she also heard the voices and felt the presence of her ancestors, the elders. "Many times I felt they were around me, and I was walking with them". "When I'd be camping at night I heard them. I didn't know what they were saying because it was in Cherokee, of course, but I heard their voices, and I knew I was protected".

Trail's End Three months later, Belinda arrived in Tahlequah, Oklahoma where the surviving Cherokees were released from custody to begin a new life. She met Rhonda Swimmer who took her into her home. Belinda had hoped to have a friend pick her up but that failed and she planned to hitchhike back to Alabama. Ms. Swimmer plans to drive Belinda back to Alabama.

Walking the Trail of Tears She walked the 800-mile trail of her ancestors.

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