Modern technology used by Trail of Tears sleuths - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Modern technology used by Trail of Tears sleuths

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Ground-penetrating radar is being used to look for clues along the Trail of Tears in Ardmore. (KTEN) Ground-penetrating radar is being used to look for clues along the Trail of Tears in Ardmore. (KTEN)

ARDMORE, Okla. -- The Choctaw Nation is hoping that new technology will give them insight into what happened to hundreds of ancestors after they were forcibly removed from their homes in the Southeast U.S. before the Civil War.

The three-year project taking a deeper look at the Trail of Tears has brought tribal investigators to Ardmore.

"We trace these Trail of Tears routes, we go and find rendezvous points, we try to trace as much family history as we can,"  project coordinator Deanna Byrd said.

The goal is to make sure that no ancestors have been forgotten.

"What we ended up finding was these little whisperings of a removal to Ardmore, and it made sense," Byrd said. "There was a lot of tribal members that could start their family history here."

Byrd said the Choctaw who were here stayed in the Love Building in the early 1900s. They had to suffer through poor conditions like no heat and a lack of food during the winter.

It is said that hundreds of Choctaw died as a result, and their remains could still be there.

"We wanted to make sure that since there was a wagon yard behind this building that none of these individuals were in any unmarked graves behind," Byrd said. 

Investigators used ground-penetrating radar as a way to "see" through the soil and pick up any disturbances.

"Hopefully that's what the report shows, that nobody was laid to rest back here without anybody knowing," Byrd said.

If remains are found, she said they will work with landowners to honor those ancestors. Byrd said analysis of the ground radar images should take about two weeks, but they won't release any information for several months.