Ron Cooper, a Comanche, will be among 30 authors and artists at the Museum Center At Five Points for the BLOOMING Arts Festival Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The Friday preview party from 5 to 8 p.m. is free to members and $10 for guests. It includes a pasta bar and early shopping privileges for art and books. Books and art of featured authors and artists will be available in the Museum Gift Shop.
The Saturday and Sunday festival events are free to all. Hours are Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cooper walked the 900 miles of the northern route of The Trail Of Tears before writing his book, “It’s My Trail Too.” He recently discussed his book:
Why a Comanche on the Cherokee Trail of Tears?
“I walked the Trail of Tears to show it as a representation of all tribes’ struggles to save their ways of life, my tribe included. All tribes lived at one time in peace in a culture established, in most cases, for millenia. Then a new people came and war, disease, and loss of land occurred. The final act was the destruction of the ancestral culture and the forced assimilation to an alien way of life. No matter what tribe your ancestors were, this story is your tribe’s as well as anyone else’s.”
“I walked the Trail of Tears to show the above common story. A non-Cherokee can feel the history, despair, and tragedy of the Trail of Tears just as much as a Cherokee would. And I certainly did. What I also walked for was for our people to feel pride, as well. We have come a long way since those days of reservation confinement. We certainly have our problems in today’s tribal society, but for the most part we have re-established ourselves as tribal nations looking ahead here in the 21st century.”
“Although most people I met knew basically what the Trail of Tears was, most didn’t know about the other tribes who walked with the Cherokee and on their own paths. These include the Chickasaw, Creek, Choctaw, and Seminole tribes. Many people didn’t know the Trail of Tears ran through their towns. I was able to tell them about that.”
“One of the greatest legacies of my walk was that I was able to connect property owners who had Trail of Tears related history on their lands with organizations who could help determine the best ways to preserve that history for future generations. It happened several times on my walk, and it was something I never even considered would happen when I first began my journey.”
The mission of the Museum Center at Five Points is to preserve and interpret the history and culture of the Ocoee Region by highlighting the adventures of its people. For more information, call 339-5745 or visit www.MuseumCenter.org.