Cherokee Indian Nation - The Trail Of Tears
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The events associated with the Trail of Tears, in the 1830s, the Andrew Jackson administration forced the Cherokee Nation of Georgia to give up their ancestral land and resettle at present-day Oklahoma. At the time a few people in America seemed to care about their plight, because popular opinion in the 1830s was that Indians were uncivilized and savage. Cherokee people had appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States, and Chief Justice John Marshall ruled that the removal of Cherokee people from their ancestral land was unjust. Yet President ...view middle of the document...
However, the Cherokee, whose ancestral tribal lands overlapped the boundaries of the states of Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Alabama, refused to move. They established a capital in 1825 in the town of New Echota, near present-day Calhoun, Georgia.
In 1820 the Cherokee established a governmental system modeled on that of the United States, with an elected principal Chief, a Senate, and a House of Representatives. Because of this system, the Cherokee were included as one of the so-called Five Civilized Tribes. The other four
tribes were the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and the Seminoles. In 1832 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Georgia legislation was unconstitutional; federal authorities, following Jackson’s policy of Native American removal, ignored the decision. About five hundred leading Cherokee agreed in 1835 to abandon the tribal territory in exchange for
$5,700,000 and land in Indian Territory, now Oklahoma.
The Trail of Tears was the result of the Treaty of New Echota, an agreement signed under provisions of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, when Native Americans exchanged territories in the east for the others west of the river Mississippi. (Oliver, 2012) This was never accepted by leaders elected by the tribe or by a majority of the Cherokee people. Despite this, President Martin Van Buren sent federal troops to collect some 17,000 Cherokees in camps before being sent to the West. Today, it is a road of hope and promise, but in 1838 it was a road of misery and heartache, sickness, and death known today as “The Trail of Tears.” A proud nation, uprooted and dispossessed, traveled it for six long, bitter months in the winter of 1838-39. (Trail of Tears, 2012) The humiliation and suffering that the Cherokee experienced on this sorrowful march have no parallel in American history. The Cherokee were forced onto that tragic trail after years of trying to hold out against white encroachment upon their lands, years that were filled with deceit and greed and strewn with broken treaties. The Cherokee were not the only Native Americans who were forced to migrate in these years, and therefore the phrase Trail of Tears may be used to refer to similar events suffered by other indigenous people.
On a peaceful morning, the Cherokee people were startled to see the white soldiers coming into their houses and forcing them to leave. They were not allowed to take much of their belongings, and were rushed to leave. Since it was a spring, the temperature was very low, but many Cherokee people did not carry blankets with them. The route they took was north and west, running through a region where game still thrived, game they would need as food. There were men and women, old and gnarled. There were newborn babies and unborn babies who chose just this moment to come into the world. There were the blind and the dying consumptives who had to be carried on litters. As they picked up their few belongings they...