1. At what restaurant in downtown Springfield did people eat lunch while they were retracing the Trail of Death in 2003? (Hint: Since then it has moved to the Vinegar Hill building south of the Illinois State Capitol). What was the point of commemorating the event?Now, here are the links ... in no logical order (unless Google has some logic to its directory that escapes me at the moment). You'll find answers to those questions on these websites.
2. Why was the Trail of Death called by that name?
3. What were the Indians promised if they looked presentable when they marched through Springfield? How were they received in Jacksonville? What was different about their passage through the two communities?
4. Who was Fr. Benjamin Petit? Where and when did he die? What does he tell you about Potawatomi culture of the 1830s? Why is he important to the story of the Trail of Death?
The Prairie Band of the Potawatomi Nation has a map and a list of historical markers commemorating the Trail of Death. Look for markers near Springfield and nearby cities.
The Fulton County (Ind.) Historical Society's diary of the Trail of Death has a brief, but detailed account of the journey. Read it from start to finish to get an idea of the hardship involved. What do you make of the treatment the Potawatomi received in Springfield and in Jacksonville?
An educational project from Urbana School District 116 has several first-hand or primary sources on the Trail of Death. Read especially the story in The Sangamo Journal (which is misspelled on the website, incidentally). What does the Journal's description of the Potawatomi and their fear of the Cherokee tell you about white attitudes toward Indians during the 1830s?
Indiana's Fulton County Historical Society has posted an account of its commemorative caravan across Illinois in September 2003. The historical society's website also has accounts of the caravan in Indiana, Missouri and Kansas.
For the rest of the story, we'll also look at the official website of the Prairie Band and follow the link to the pages on their history culture. When we look at the history of an Indian Nation, it's always a good idea to look at today's website and see what they're like today.