The Indian Cultural Heritage Project began in 2003. It primarily focused on the Indian heritage in the North Georgia mountains. This Indian heritage investigation was primarily associated with the Marker Trees or the Indian Trail Trees as they are sometimes called.
With the help of Bob Wells, a videographer and filmmaker, we documented Indian trees in the mountain area. We learned that Elaine Jordan from Ellijay, GA had written a small book called Indian Trail Trees – first published in 1997. Elaine, who had crippling arthritis, was unable further research the trees and mentored us to continue her efforts.
By 2006, we had discovered others in the United States who were researching the Indian trees.
In March 2007, colleagues from four states gathered at Hobbs State Park in northwest Arkansas to share knowledge about the trees. We learned that Laura Hubler from Missouri, who had died in the late 1900s, had researched the Indian trees and had left a wealth of information that was stored in an archive in Arkansas. At that same meeting, Bob Wells shared a short 12-minute mini-documentary about the trees we discovered in Georgia.
The group decided we should all cooperate in researching the Indian trees and coordinate our findings. Thus, the Trail Tree Project was launched. Mountain Stewards provide management of the program. It was agreed that a team effort would be planned for July 2007 to document the trees found in northwest Arkansas. Members for the Mountain Stewards traveled to Arkansas in July to document the Indian trees.
On the return trip to Georgia, we stopped in Moulton, Alabama and met with Lamar Marshall, who had started a program of mapping Indian trails. He also documented the Indian trees in Alabama. That meeting resulted in an agreement between Lamar’s organization, WildSouth and the Mountain Stewards. Together we developed a computerized process and methodology to map Indian trails in the southeast United States and elsewhere.
Dr. Mickey Nardo of the Mountain Stewards created a custom computerized mapping application.
In the fall of 2007, we returned to Alabama to begin the mapping of trails in Alabama thus launching the official Indian Trails Mapping Program. On that trip, we met Ricky Butch Walker was researching Alabama’s Indian trails and Indian cultural heritage. We expanded our effort to film the story of the Indian trees and expanded the scope to document Indian cultural heritage before it was lost.