ROSWELL, Ga. — The Roswell Historical Society is making sure to include the Cherokee Nation as part of the area’s history by creating a Cherokee memorial along the Chattahoochee River in Roswell to memorialize their Trail of Tears.
The Cherokee memorial project will consist of eight boulders, each with bronze plaques that tell stories of Cherokee from the area.
A dedication ceremony at the city’s Riverside Park will be July 19, followed by a Cherokee festival.
“The town of Roswell didn’t really get started until right after the Trail of Tears,” said Cindi Crane, a Roswell author and chairman of the Cherokee Memorial Committee. “There’s a lot of history prior to the 1830s. So we wanted to include that in our history.”
The project began when Crane researched her husband’s genealogy, which includes Cherokee ancestry.
“When I learned more about what happened here, I was compelled to write a story,” Crane said.
While writing “Roswell Redemption,” a historical novel about the Georgia Land Lottery and the Trail of Tears, Crane wanted to do something more.
She approached the mayor and City Council about honoring the Cherokee who had lived in this area of north Georgia and the lives lost on the Trail of Tears.
“I got a lot of head-nodding; everybody thought it was a great idea. But until I got the actual approval, I couldn’t make it happen,” Crane said. “The City Council and mayor have been very supportive.”
The Roswell Historical Society was also a main contributor.
“The Roswell Historical Society has been my champion organization to help make sure this happens,” Crane said.
Crane and the Historical Society set a goal to raise $15,000 in March. With combined fundraising efforts, including an event at the home of U.S. Rep. Tom Price, the project raised more than $18,000.
Crane said that any excess funds after the festival will go toward a scholarship for the Cherokee.
Speakers at the festival include Cherokee dignitaries, Crane, the Roswell Historical Society, Mayor Jere Wood and representatives from the Trail of Tears Association and Friends of New Echotah.
Following the ceremony, a festival will feature Cherokee dancing, music, reenactments and animals from the Chattahoochee Nature Center.
A group from Cherokee, North Carolina, will perform a warrior dance. Cherokee Rose and Silena Jumper, a mother-daughter team, will perform Cherokee songs with vocals and guitar.