From The Associated Press
FORT SMITH, Ark. — The Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes has accepted the U.S. Marshals Museum's property offer to build a Trail of Tears monument in Fort Smith.
Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief George Tiger sent a letter last month to museum officials, saying that the council's executive committee unanimously approved the offer.
"This was a very generous and thoughtful gesture on behalf of the Museum Board to commemorate the tragic and historic events surrounding the removal of our ancestors to Indian Territory. It is also a reflection of the tribes' history with the U.S. Marshals Service," Tiger wrote.
The monument would represent the tribes' forced journey west into what is now Oklahoma during the 19th century, known as the Trail of Tears.
Tiger serves as president the Five Civilized Tribes, which are the Creek, Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole nations. The museum will provide the land for the monument, which will be paid for by the Inter-Tribal Council.
The Museum Board first invited the Five Civilized Tribes to place the monument in June 2011. While presenting the proposal to the board, Marshals Museum President and CEO Jim Dunn noted that each of the tribes had passed through the Fort Smith area at least once during the Trail of Tears. Since then, he said, the Marshals Service and the tribes have worked closely together.
The $50 million U.S. Marshals Museum will be built overlooking the Arkansas River in Fort Smith. Officials said they've raised about $10.2 million so far for the project.
Information from Southwest Times Record