OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Legislation that could result in the expansion of the national historic trail that traces the routes Cherokees walked after being forcibly removed to Oklahoma has passed a U.S. House committee.
The measure, spurred by updated research on the Trail of Tears, requires the Secretary of Interior to determine whether several additions -- including ones that would add sites in Oklahoma, Georgia and North Carolina -- would be suitable, The Oklahoman reported from its Washington bureau.
It passed the House Resources Committee on Wednesday.
The bill requires that a study be done within a year of the legislation's passage. If the additions were deemed feasible and suitable, they would be added to the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.
Last year, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith said the bill "is important to not only the Cherokee people but to the history of the United States."
The bill was co-sponsored by four members of Oklahoma's congressional delegation.
In the 1830s, the U.S. government forcibly relocated thousands of American Indians from their longtime homes in eastern states to what is now Oklahoma.