The Trail of Tears

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 recieved 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. Their culture was bred here along their new way of
life. John Ross who was elected by the Cherokee as the
President of the Cherokee nation in 1827 continues his roll in
the land, shared with another seventy tribes. They had
opened up schools in the Indian Territory to continue their
education for their children. The first Cherokee school
opened in 1801 when the people were learning their
language. Their written language which consists of 85
characters, was said to be created by a Sequoia
(1760-1843) , a Cherokee leader. Sequoia translated the
Bible, wrote many books, and helped publish the
newspaper,"The Cherokee Phoenix." This was contradicted
in Dialogue-Everyman's Encyclopedia Story #1989130. It
said the man who created the 85 character written language
was George Guess. The Cherokee Phoenix was published in
both languages-English and the Cherokees'. The Cherokee
had mixed blood from the early British settlers and traders.
Therefore, the Cherokee were educated in both languages.
For over half a century the Cherokee have abstained from
becoming American Citizens until 1906 when the Unites
States made all tribal