Topic ID #25773 - posted 12/20/2012 2:45 AM

volunteer project: Searching for Clues along the Trail of Tears, Shawnee NF, IL

Jennifer Palmer

Shawnee NF
New! Searching for Clues along the Trail of Tears

March 12-15, 2013

Must commit to minimum of 2 days

During the frigid winter of 1838-1839, thousands of Cherokee Indians passed through southern Illinois during a forced removal from their homelands in the Smoky Mountains to reservations in the mid-west. The path, which became known commonly as the "Trail of Tears," was full of terrors and hardship, but their voyage across southern Illinois was particularly brutal. At this point of the harsh journey, several whole detachments of Indians were trapped in Illinois and exposed to extreme winter conditions because the Mississippi River was frozen and treacherously impassable. Ferry crossing was denied them and, as the ice began to break up, huge blocks catapulted downstream, rearing up on end only to crash back down with what witnesses described as "a thunderous roar!" It took five detachments more than 11 weeks to cross southern Illinois from the Ohio River on the east to the Mississippi River on the west, moving slowly from one overnight campsite to another only a few miles down the road.

During recent field studies, Forest Service archaeologists located a site that is believed to have been one of these camps. This season, we plan to investigate the site in greater depth and detail, and we need your help! Passport in Time volunteers and Forest staff will conduct limited excavations in hopes of recovering artifacts that can provide confirmation of the site's association with the Cherokee's historic - and tragic - westward trek. We hope you'll join us in March for this unique opportunity to help unearth an important part of Illinois' past!

Number of openings: 12

Special skills: Must be physically capable of standing/sitting/kneeling for extended periods each day; previous archaeological excavation, mapping, sketching, historic artifact (particularly Indian) identification, and/or photography experience helpful, but not required

Minimum age: 12 years old; under 18 with a responsible adult

Facilities: Tent and RV camping available in area (Pine Hills Campground, Trail of Tears State Park, and Giant City Sate Park within 15 miles of project); amenities vary, fees may apply; Jonesboro, Carbondale, and Cape Girardeau are full-service communities with hotels/motels, B&Bs, restaurants, and a full range of other amenities; volunteers responsible for own lodging/personal camping equipment, food, water, and transportation

Nearest towns: Jonesboro, 8 miles; Carbondale, 28 miles; Cape Girardeau, MO, 20 miles

Applications due: January 7, 2013

More info here.


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