Preserving the Trail
remembering the trail
honoring those that traveled in history and today

AL-TN Trail of Tears Corridor Association, Inc (ATTOTCAI) History

AL-TN Trail of Tears Corridor Association, Inc. (ATTOTCAI) is an all-volunteer IRS recognized 501c3 tax exempt charitable organization with all donations to ATTOTCAI deductible in accordance with IRS tax laws. ATTOTCAI has worked with State and Federal legislators and government agencies to accomplish the following:

(1) Obtained recognition from the Internal Revenue Service as a 501c3 tax exempt charitable organization,

(2) Alabama Indian Affairs and ATTOTCIA worked with the U.S. Congress to pass legislation recognizing the approximately 230 mile Drane / Hood removal route from Ross Landing TN to Waterloo AL as one of the Federally Recognized Trail of Tears routes from the southeast to Oklahoma.

(3) ATTOTCAI, Alabama Indian Affairs and Waterloo Mayor Joan Farneman worked with Army Core of Engineers, Tennessee Valley Authority, and National Parks Service to have the Tennessee River deep water point at the edge of Waterloo AL donated by TVA to the National Parks Service as a certified site on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail

(4) State of Alabama Indian Affairs Commission (AIAC) and ATTOTCAI worked with Waterloo Mayor Jerry McIntyre, TVA and the Army Core of Engineers to erect a retaining wall at the point for subsequent ATTOTCAI development of a Trail of Tears Riverwalk memorial site to consist of brick pathways, historical monument and markers

(5) ATTOTCAI has provided significant funding for Native American Indian Scholarships in both Alabama and Tennessee as well as providing funding to schools in the supporting communities.

ATTOTCAI Objectives:

ATTOTCAI's objectives include identifying and preserving historical American Indian forced removal routes from the southeast to Oklahoma by placing road signs, historical markers and monuments, preserving American Indian traditions, cultures education, and scholarships as well as general public awareness of these traditions and the American Indian struggles during their forced removal in the late 1830s.   ATTOTCAI promotes a positive experience for bikers and supporters of AL-TN Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride .

ATTOTCAI objectives are funded through donations received for AL-TN Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride memorabilia and donations from supporters.

ATTOTCAI's AL - TN Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride History:
This event was started to bring awareness about this dark chapter in America's history and to educate the public so this atrocity would never be repeated in America again.  Several people on the Alabama Trail of Tears Committee, under AWA started, this event and made this event very successful and helped pass Trail of Tears legislation 95-346 recognizing the Drain Hood route.  

In 1994 the first annual AL  TN Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride was organized.   ATTOTCAI's primary objective has and continues to be to bring attention to the Drane/Hood route taken by over 3000 Native Americans from Ross Landing in Chattanooga TN to Waterloo AL by foot.

In the early 1990's, Jerry Davis, of Scottsboro, Alabama, was researching Native American history surrounding his area.   He learned that the Trail of Tears removal had used a route passing along present-day Hwy. 72.   He began talking with longtime friend, Bill Cason, of Whitwell, Tennessee about what they could do to bring public awareness to this event.  Jerry felt that this route should be officially recognized and marked. Conversation after conversation took place.   One day Bill Cason, a motorcycle rider, suggested that the best way to he knew to get people's attention was to have a bike ride.

Jerry Davis, CEO of AL Waterfowl Association, collected the historical documents needed to identify the Drane/Hood Route and provided the umbrella 501C3 the TOT committee operated under while forming the ATTOTCAI 501c3 Corporation.   Darala Grave, AL Govenors staff Director of AIAC and Trail of Tears member, worked with Jerry and TOT Committee in getting legislation 95-346 passed.

Since the first ride in 1994, with Terry Sweet flying the flag on his bike from Ross Landing to Huntsville where the flag was transferred to Rod Wheeler's bike for the ride from Huntsville to Waterloo;   and when not carrying a flag, Terry Sweet, Bill Cason, Rod Wheeler, Jerry Davis, Rudy Rainwater, Greg Bass (Christian Motorcycle Association), Gary Kinney and two others riders were taking turns at road guard on the initial ride with Kenneth Campbell in his famous red pickup as ride support.   The second year, Dale Cook a Native American from OOTOLEWA TN was brave enough to ride in a side car as Terry Sweet led the ride.   The event has grown significantly since this first few ride.

After the initial ride, Jerry Davis, being CEO and Founder of the Alabama Waterfowl Association (AWA) used AWA's nonprofit status to initially operate until the incorporation of the Alabama Tennessee Trail of Tears Corridor Association, Inc. paper work was completed.   Jerrys involvement with AWA and a working relationship with federal, state agency and officials helped with Trail of Tears project activities. Rod Wheeler was CEO INEXSYS Inc. at the time with a 10 year service contract with City of Madison, along with Terry Sweet (CMA) worked as ATTOTCAI's Alabama State Coordinators with support and assistance from Alabama Indian Affairs Commission Director, Darla Graves, augmented Jerrys relationships in coordinating and establishing Trail of Tears project activities.

In 2002, Rod Wheeler and Patricia Young, both ATTOTCAI BOD members, began working with Jerra Quinton, Coordinator of Trail of Tears Association (TOTA) to form the Alabama chapter of the National Trail of Tears Association and held the first meeting with ATTOTCAI and TOTA members, Steve Edge, Terry Sweet, Larry Vannoy, Rod Wheeler TOTA President and TOTA Patricia Young as Sect/Treasurer, among other TOTA members.   TOTA is dedicated to research and mark of the actual overland foot path segments and historically significant sites.

ATTOTCAI has placed markers along the 230 mile highway route closely following the Trail of Tears removal route, with TOTA placing markers on the actual historical foot trails and coincident roads used during the removal.

Since the first ride, the news media and police estimation of participation in the ATTOTCAI organized annual ride has often consisted of 60,000 to 100,000 with participation in some years exceeding 150,000 motorcycles arriving in Waterloo for the 3 day POW WOW hosted by the Town of Waterloo AL.   The AL - TN Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride event has been recognized by the State of Alabama Tourism Board as one of the top 10 Tourism events in the Southeast along with Alabama Football games and Talladega Speedway events, with interest and the legend continuing to grow.   At each of the stops along the 230 miles of the AL - TN Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride, Native Americans have performed Storytelling, ceremonial dances, demonstrated crafts and offered items for sale in collaboration with the activities provided by the designated host stops.   AL - TN Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride has been supported by riders from all parts of the country, with some bikers actually flying themselves and their motorcycles from Germany, England and other European countries to participate.

People line up and ride in his parade from Ross' Landing in Chattanooga to Waterloo, Alabama in honor of our first American settlers, from a statement from a letter written to Jerry Davis, AWA, from Alabama Senator Howell Heflin saying "It is time Alabama recognized the blood, sweat and tears on Alabama soil."  Also, the riders recognize the horrible way the American Indians of the Southeast were treated because of racism and greed.   This is why the motorcyclists from all walks of life line up and ride in the Trail of Tears Commemoration and Motorcycle Ride.  People from around the world attend AL - TN Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride in honor of Native American Indians.

When the ride was started in 1994, polls by Jerry and other committee members found out that only about 3 in 10 people in the Huntsville area knew what the Trail of Tears is.   This has changed over the years with most in the area recognizing the significance of this event and history on the Trail of Tears has been included in text books in large part due to the motorcycle ride bringing attention to the Drane/Hood Trail of Tears route that runs from Ross' Landing in Chattanooga to Waterloo, Alabama.

This is the route recognized by the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission as the official route of the "Trail of Tears Commemoration and Motorcycle Ride ".

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley's 2014 Proclamation

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey's 2020 Proclamation

Chattanooga Mayor Littlefield Proclamation supporting the ATTOTCAI Route to Waterloo.

Alabama Governor Riley 2008 Commendation supporting the ATTOTCAI Route to Waterloo.

Alabama Indian Affairs Commission supporting the ATTOTCAI Route to Waterloo.

arkansas & alabama Tot joint venture agreement

National Trail of Tears Assocation, Alabama Chapter Formation.

National Trail of Tears Assocation, Alabama Chapter Formation Membership Approval.