WALESKA — The Funk Heritage Center of Reinhardt University is presenting a free program in the series “History Beneath Our Feet” on Feb. 1. The series commemorates the 175th anniversary of the Trail of Tears.
For the program, Tony Harris, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, will present “Native Plants: Food and Medicine on the Trail of Tears” discussing how the ancient knowledge of plants helped the Cherokee people survive their long trip to their new home in Oklahoma.
Robert S. Davis, a professor in genealogy and history, will explain how to trace a Cherokee family during the removal era, offering suggestions on resources.
Registration and coffee begins at 8:30 a.m. The first lecture starts at 9 a.m., and there will be a question-and-answer session at 11 a.m. Due to limited seating, reservations are required.
The center was added recently to the National Park Service Trail of Tears as a certified interpretive site.
“The first lectures in this series were held last September and so many area residents were interested in attending, we had to turn people away,” said Dr. Joseph Kitchens, executive director of the Center. “So we decided to have a follow-up program, and we will have two excellent speakers. There is enormous public interest in the two subjects covered in this program.”
Kitchens said both topics are of significance to audiences.
“The impact of plants on human health has generated a great deal of research and writing, as attested to by numerous books on the best seller lists. And millions of us have become pretty sophisticated about genealogy with the advent of Genweb, Ancestry.com and Fold3, among other online services,” Kitchens said.
Harris was born and raised in Muskogee, Okla. He graduated from Northeastern State University located in Tahlequah. He is a Master Gardener and a frequent speaker at historical, civic and garden clubs.
He has also spoken at the National Cherokee Ethnobotany Conference and done programs for the National Park Service.
Davis is the director of the Family and Regional History Program, Wallace State Community College, in Hanceville, Ala. His program at Wallace State trains students in the methods of local and family history research in a college environment.
He has a Master of Education degree in history from North Georgia College and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is also a graduate of the Institute of Documentary Editing of the National Historical Records Publications Commission. He was raised in Forest Park and is a former resident of Jasper.
The Funk Heritage Center is located on the campus of Reinhardt University.
These lectures are sponsored by the Georgia Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities and through appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly.
For information and reservations, call (770) 720-5970.