This photograph is part of the Chattanooga Art Project at the Tennessee Aquarium in celebration of the Cherokee Culture. Although the Cherokee language is not my mother tongue, my ancestry on my father’s side dates back to the Cherokees as my great, great grandmother was Cherokee and was a part of the forced removal of the Cherokees from Chattanooga. The removal of the Cherokees is known as the Trail of Tears and is said to be the greatest tragedy of the Cherokee Indians and a disgraceful act by our government at the time. Her son-in-law (my great grandfather) was successful in returning her to Chattanooga and thus saving her from the perils some of the other Cherokee Indians suffered. Once the forced evacuation was launched in 1838, some 4,000 Cherokees died in stockades or on the trail.
The scene in this photograph depicts a portion of the 14-foot tall stainless steel sculptures of stickball players which grace a wall alongside the Tennessee River near the Aquarium. The game was an important part of the Cherokee culture.