The Wichahpi Stone Wall is a 6600 ft. un-mortared wall built by Tom Hendrix in memory of his great-great-grandmother Te-lah-nay, a Yuchi Indian who was forced to walk the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma.
It is the longest un-mortared wall in the US, and is the longest memorial to a woman and any Native American in the world.
In Mr. Hendrix’s own words as he talks about the Wall and his book, “If the Legends Fade“:
In northwest Alabama, there is a stone wall dedicated to my great-great-grandmother’s journey, about which this book is written, and to all Native American women.
The wall is my way of honoring my ancestors. It has become a special place to many who visit it, for reasons that relate to their own lives.
After walking the length of the wall, Charlie Two Moons, a spiritual person, explained it this way: “The wall does not belong to you, Brother Tom. It belongs to all people. You are just the keeper. I will tell you that it is wichahpi, which means ‘like the stars’. When they come, some will ask, ‘Why does it bend, and why is it higher and wider in some places than in others?’ Tell them it is like your great-great-grandmother’s journey, and their journey through life–it is never straight.”
If the Legends Fade is the story of Te-lah-nay’s journey.
The story, like the wall, belongs to all people.
(photos from Laura Bell)