2,000-mile walk along ‘Trail of Tears’ ends in hope

A Philadelphia man will celebrate Wednesday night after walking 2,000 miles from Penn Treaty Park to Bartlesville, Oklahoma, to draw attention to a tragic episode in the region’s history.

His walk commemorated “The Trail of Tears”—the route taken during the forced relocation of Native Americans in the 19th century.

Fishtown resident Peter Prusinowski feared people—even those living in Philadelphia—had forgotten an important moment in history. So, he set out back in March to retrace “The Trail of Tears” on foot, in a project he called “The Trail of Hope.”

“I traced the migration of Delaware Indians from Delaware Valley all the way to Oklahoma. I started being interested in the history of not only Delaware Indians, but also William Penn and when he met with Delaware Indians at what is now Penn Treaty Park,” he said. “They were able to seal a treaty that lasted for a long time and it was based on friendship, love, and peace.”

Prusinowski arrived in Oklahoma last week. He said the trek was worth it because he was able to tell so many people about an important piece of Philadelphia’s history.

A welcome-home celebration for Prusinowski takes place Wednesday evening from 6 to 9 at the Penn Treaty Museum at Delaware and Columbus avenues.

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