Cherokees accept gift from Dollywood

Monday, October 20th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (AP) _ A replica of the only known surviving wagon from the Trail of Tears has been donated by Dollywood theme park to representatives of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

The wagon was built at Dollywood over the last month.

``We did not, until today, have one of these wagons that we could call our own,'' said Albert Crowe, chairman of the tribal council. ``It's very significant to us because this is the vehicle that was used 165 years ago to transport people.''

Beginning in 1838, the federal government herded the Cherokee people and forced them to travel more than 2,000 miles from Tennessee to present-day Oklahoma. About 14,000 people were moved, but thousands died during the brutal trek.

Dollywood borrowed the last existing wagon known to make the trip from the Foxfire Museum and Center in Mountain City, Ga., for its Harvest Celebration. The replica will go on permanent display in the Museum of the Cherokee in Cherokee, N.C.

The Cherokee representatives gave Dollywood pottery and a handmade basket, representative of traditional Cherokee crafts.

The wagon that was copied is known as the Zuraw Wagon after the woman who inherited it.