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Trail Of Tears

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The Trail of Tears, was it unjust and inhumane? What happened to the Cherokee during that

long and treacherous journey? They were brave and listened to the government, but they received

unproductive land and lost their tribal land.

The white settlers were already emigrating to the Union, or America. The East coast was burdened with new settlers and becoming vastly populated. President Andrew Jackson and the

government had to find a way to move people to the West to make room. President Andrew Jackson

passed the Indian Removal Policy in the year 1830. The Indian Removal Policy which called for the

removal of Native Americans from the Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia area, also

moved their capital Echota in Tennessee to the new capital call New Echota, Georgia and then eventually

to the Indian Territory. The Indian Territory was declared in the Act of Congress in 1830 with the Indian

Removal Policy.

Elias Boudinot, Major Ridge, and John Ridge and there corps accepted the responsibility for the

removal of one of the largest tribes in the Southeast that were the earliest to adapt to European ways.

There was a war involving the Cherokee and the Chickasaw before the Indian Removal Policy

was passed. The Cherokee were defeated by them which caused Chief Dragging Canoe to sign a treaty in

1777 to split up their tribe and have the portion of the tribe in Chattanooga, Tennessee called the

Chickamauga.

Chief Doublehead of the Chickamauga, a branch of the Cherokee, signed a treaty to give away

their lands. Tribal law says "Death to any Cherokee who proposed to sell or exchange tribal land." Chief

Doublehead was later executed by Major Ridge. Again there was another treaty signed in December 29, 1835 which is called The Treaty of New

Echota. It was signed by a party of 500 Cherokee out of about 17,000. Between 1785 and 1902 twenty-five

treaties were signed with white men to give up their tribal lands.

The Cherokee would find themselves in a nightmare for the next year. In 1838 General Winfield

Scott got tired of delaying this longer than the 2 years he waited already so he took charge in collecting

the Cherokee. The Cherokee were taken from their homes and their belongings. The were placed in

holding camps so none would escape. The Cherokee were to be moved in the fall of 1838.

The journey did not occur in October, 1838 because of bad weather. They were now supposed to

move 13,000 Cherokee in the spring of 1839 a distance of eight-hundred miles.

The Cherokee were fed on meager rations and suffered malnutrition. They were badly clothed for

the spring and many caught diseases and died. Many Cherokee tried to escape and some succeeded. The

Cherokee knew these woodlands and knew where to go. The white men couldn't find them without the

help of other Cherokee and bribes. Most of the Cherokee hid in the mountains and could not be found.

During the eight-hundred mile trek many children and spouses were separated from their

families when the Government would split up the Cherokee into groups of 1,000 for ease of removal.

About one-third of the original Cherokee they collected died in the holding camps and between the trek

from the Southeast section of the Union to Indian Territory.

They would have to learn a new way of life and adjust. They lost their negro slaves, and their

possessions. The Cherokee were farmers, and the land was infertile. The land was meant for cattle raising,

which they didn't know ho to do.

They built a capital city called Tahlequah, and their nation was declared in September 6, 1839.

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