U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and U.S. Representative Zach Wamp (R-Tenn. 3) said today that the Trail of Tears Documentation Act and the Green McAdoo National Historic Study Act which they pioneered were both included in the Public Lands Bill (H.R. 146) that passed the Senate.
“These two measures bring us one step closer to officially recognizing these important historical sites in Tennessee,” Alexander said. “Now that the Lands bill has passed through the Senate, I hope it will move quickly to the president’s desk so that we can appropriately honor the Clinton 12 and the Cherokee.”
“I’m very pleased the Senate has passed these provisions to appropriately recognize two important pieces of our Tennessee and American history,” Corker said. “The Green McAdoo and Trail of Tears bills help ensure these sites will be preserved for future generations to experience and appreciate.”
“The Trail of Tears Documentation Act is an initiative that I’ve been honored to shepherd through Congress and completing the story of the Cherokee removal is personal for me because of my own Cherokee heritage. The Trail of Tears must be told accurately, honestly and completely. The distinct routes and campgrounds proposed in this legislation more fully reflect the tragic saga of a proud people’s forced removal,” said Congressman Wamp, who introduced both the Trail of Tears and Green McAdoo measures in the U.S. House of Representatives. “Today the Senate honored the story of Green McAdoo and the people who made it happen. The Green McAdoo site is important to the Clinton community, but also to the cause of justice and equality in America.”
The Trail of Tears Documentation Act calls for the inclusion of two primary westward trails-the Benge and Bell routes, as well as water routes thru the Tennessee and Arkansas Rivers and the so-called “round up routes” from Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama where the Cherokee were sought out, gathered and subsequently forced on the long journey by foot, horseback, boat and wagon to the new “Indian Territory.” The designation and interpretation of the additional sites and trails associated with the Cherokee Removal will enhance public understanding of American history.
The Green McAdoo National Historic Site Study Act would direct the Secretary of the Interior to study the feasibility of designating the Green McAdoo School in Clinton, Tennessee, which successfully integrated without federal intervention one year before Little Rock Central, as a unit of the National Park System. Upon receiving the designation, the site would become part of the 391-unit National Park System and receive federal funding for operational costs. It also would earn national recognition as part of the Park System’s mission to preserve and protect the natural and cultural history of America.
The Public Lands bill (H.R. 146), a package of more than one hundred different bills, passed the Senate today by a vote of 77 – 20. A nearly identical bill passed the Senate in January.