In Their Moccasins: The Cherokee Journey of Change

The moment Christopher Columbus stepped ashore, everything changed for America’s first inhabitants. Every Native American culture dealt with the rapid growth of the American nation, and its threat to their way of life, in a different way. Some fought with weapons, some sought to unite with neighboring tribes, and others accepted defeat. But Georgia’s Cherokee resisted the encroachment of the United States in a way that defined their culture for centuries; they chose to adapt and assimilate to a new world they saw as inevitably changing. In their Moccasins is a multifaceted two-hour program designed specifically for elementary school children, grades 2–5.

Students are transported to the year 1838 as the Cherokee were forced to leave their homeland in Georgia to walk on the Trail of Tears. Assuming the character identity of actual Cherokee Indians who travelled this life-changing journey, students gain empathy and appreciation for the hardships Native Americans endured, as well as the rapid cultural changes occurring at the same time. The dramatic story of the Trail of Tears unfolds in real-time as students are led on an unforgettable trek through the winding paths of the Atlanta History Center’s Quarry Garden, home to Georgia’s largest collection of native plants. Along the way, students make decisions that bring to light real historical scenarios experienced by Georgia’s natives. Students in character meet and speak with Sweetwater, a Cherokee grandmother who has lost her group along the trail and needs their help. As they reach their destination, students have learned about Cherokee culture by living it.To complement the Trail of Tears experience and the theme of cultural change, students participate in three additional experience stations. The story of Sequoyah’s invention of the written Cherokee language comes to life in an engaging dramatic performance that entertains as much as it educates. Students are then challenged to make deductions about how Cherokee culture changed after European contact by touching and handling real objects that show these adaptations. Finally, students enter the exhibition, Native Lands: Indians and Georgia, where they learn the cultural traditions that survive with the Cherokee today.

For more information, please email

Check out our classroom companion guide here and accompanying student activity booklet here!

Please Note:

This is an outdoor tour; please dress appropriately. In case of heavy rain, the program is rescheduled or performed indoors. Please note: there is no wheelchair accessibility in the Quarry Garden. Participating students must be able to read simple sentences.

Additional Information

Title I schools receive free tours during December 2018, January and February 2019. Due to high demand and limited availability, there is a $50 deposit due at the time of booking your tour to reserve your date. This payment will only be processed if you cancel your tour.

The cost for all guided tours is $8 per student. Guided tours require one chaperone (admitted free) per 10 students. Admission for each additional chaperone is $8.

Full payment is required 3 weeks prior to your visit to guarantee your reservation for all tours. If booking less than 3 weeks in advance, full payment is due immediately.

Confirmation of day and time and Arrival Information will be sent via email. Please bring your confirmation with you on the day of your tour to ensure the group rate.

Your payment is not refundable if you cancel your school tour and do not reschedule. Payments are refunded only in the case of school closings.

There is a $25 administrative fee should you need to reschedule your tour. You must notify the Atlanta History Center at least 3 days in advance. With advance notice your payment can be applied to a new tour date, plus the administrative fee.

Chick Fil-A Group Menu

Funding for Atlanta History Center's school programs is generously provided by:

  • The Zeist Foundation
  • Fulton County Arts Council
  • The Wells Fargo Foundation
  • Georgia Council for the Arts
  • The Connolly Family Foundation
  • David, Helen, and Marian Woodward Fund
  • The Frances Wood Wilson Foundation
  • The Ray M. and Mary Elizabeth Lee Foundation
  • The Emily Winship Scott Foundation
  • The Besse Johnson and George Blanton Allen Memorial Foundation
  • The Bright Wings Foundation

See Everything!