You would think that, in a state that houses the spirits and souls of the thousands of Indigenous people that were murdered by the U.S. Government on the Trail of Tears, Oklahoma would have far more respect for Natives and their history—at the very least, enough respect to never turn their agony and sorrow into a cheap Halloween scare-show.
And, to be fair, most Oklahomans do—but apparently not the city of Moore, the Toby Keith suburbia that, since 2014, has widely promoted their “Trail of Fears” in Little River Park, a bloody backwoods play-on-words that supposedly featured “terror lurking around every corner” for Halloween obsessives:
While I never made it down to Moore for this autumnal celebration of terrible masks and even worse make-up, the woefully offensive name leads me to believe that it was specifically made for the dude that believes his Harley-Davidson shirt that features an Indigenous skeleton wearing a war-bonnet and riding a motorcycle with an American flag behind him is a suitable enough tribute.
But, thankfully, someone with enough of a sense of shame decided to finally change the name to the far less hateful (and far more festive) Trail of Horror. With the spooky subtitle of Camp Deadwood, instead of normalizing the deaths of Natives for familial laughs, this year the City of Moore fictionalizes Little River Park as a haunted campgrounds where campers were supposedly killed years ago.
That sounds properly Halloween-y, doesn’t it?
I’m not sure what the Trail of Fears was exactly, but I hope that Moore had enough sense to not feature such truly haunting images as an emaciated mother holding her dead baby or a group of frost-bitten elders huddled together under a blanket, kept in line by the cryptkeeper-like Andrew Jackson and various demonic members of the U.S. Calvary, all armed with sharp swords that mortally jab the side of any “godless Injun” that can’t keep up with the rest.
Sure, those examples are (thankfully) fictional, but the truth is there is a lot of historical pain around the Trail of Tears that Oklahoma still hasn’t fully dealt with and, until we get Indigenous leaders that aren’t afraid of angering the bought-and-paid-for politicians down at the capital, probably never will. But I do have to ask…how much trouble would Moore be in if they referenced one of their own more recent tragedies, like the 2013 tornado?
If we’re making light of the 5,000 plus Indigenous people that died on the Trail of Tears, what’s wrong with having a fearful laugh or two traversing through the “EF5 Path of Horror,” where ticket-buyers wander around decimated homes and destroyed businesses, with bloody zombies and puking demons rising from the rubble…I could go on, but I’m sure you get the idea.
Luckily it never came to that; thankfully, this Halloween, good taste and common sense won out on a holiday that’s typically not known for it. So good job Moore on the name change—it only took about five years in the 21st fucking century.