Thursday, April 21, 2016
Jerry Ellis (1947) is an American author of fiction and non-fiction works best known for the book Walking the Trail written after he walked the 900 mile route of the Cherokee Trail of Tears.
Jerry Ellis was born in Fort Payne, Alabama, of mixed Scottish and Cherokee descent. His Cherokee great-great grandmother was living in the Fort Payne area at the time of the Trail of Tears, but she and her family escaped removal. He is the brother of actress Sandra Ellis Lafferty.
Ellis graduated from the University of Alabama. In 1989 he was the first person in the modern world to walk the Cherokee Trail of Tears. Ellis lives in both Fort Payne, Alabama, and in Rome, Italy. Ellis' Native American art--masks, pipes, dolls, and weapons--have been exhibited in numerous Native American galleries. Ellis is the co-founder of Tanager House; an artist retreat set on 200 wooded acres in the mountains of north Alabama, where he leads workshops on writing/publishing, spirituality, self-actualization.