Two Wake Forest faculty members, recently, traveled with a group of students along the Northern Route of the Cherokee Trail of Tears from Cherokee, N.C., to Oklahoma. The westernmost destination for the summer immersion trip, which ran from June 5-14, was Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, where late Wake Forest President James Ralph Scales served as president before leading Wake Forest from 1967 to 1983. Scales was a member of the Cherokee Nation. A statue of Scales, an OBU graduate, stands on the Shawnee campus.
Faculty who led the trip were Ulrike Wiethaus, professor of religious studies, and Andrew Gurstelle, assistant teaching professor of anthropology.
At the Cherokee tribal headquarters in Tahlequah, Okla., the Wake Forest faculty and students met with Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation Bill Baker and Deputy Principal Chief S. Joe Crittenden.
Funding for the trip was provided by a Provost Grant for Academic Innovation entitled “The Cherokee Trail of Tears Project: Removal, Resilience, and Public History.”