Known as part of the “Trail of Tears,” the forced removal of Cherokee people from the Southeast to the Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River began in May 1838, with this year marking its 175th anniversary.
While this was a regrettable episode in American history which resulted in an estimated 4,000 deaths of Cherokee people, the Collegedale, Tenn.-based McKee Foods Corporation, the parent company of the snack-food brand Little Debbie, is making it a little more delicious with the introduction of a limited-run snack product, “Trail Mix of Tears,” to commemorate the Cherokee removal.
At a press conference yesterday afternoon at Ross’s Landing—one of the notable Trail of Tears departure points bearing the name of Principal Chief John Ross of the Cherokee Nation—McKee Foods spokesperson Abel Hehnley introduced the new product, accompanied by a Little Debbie lookalike, wearing a Native American headdress instead of the straw hat seen in the brand’s logo.
“We must never forget the Trail of Tears, which was undeniably a dark moment in the fabric of our rich history,” said Hehnley, “and what better way to remember than with this scrumptious new snack food.”
“Whether you’re on a nature hike on Lookout Mountain or participating in a thousand-mile death march, Little Debbie’s Trail Mix of Tears will give you a boost of energy with a delectable mixture of fruit, nuts, beef jerky bits, seeds and maple and chocolate candy pieces,” said Hehnley. “We know you’ll love our new spin on pemmican, the Native American food.”
Free samples were handed out at the press conference, with the product’s packaging bearing a likeness of John Ross standing at Ross’s Landing with an outstretched hand, holding chocolate chunks, cashews and banana chips.
The reception of the new snack food was generally positive, with one attendee overheard as saying, “Genocide has never tasted so good!”