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Cherokee
Cherokee
(4,000) Creek Seminole (3,000 in Second Seminole War - 1835-1842) Chickasaw
Chickasaw
(3,500) Choctaw
Choctaw
(2,500–6,000)

The Trail of Tears Memorial at the New Echota Historic Site.

The TRAIL OF TEARS was a series of forced removals of Native American nations from their ancestral homelands in the Southeastern United States to an area west of the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
that had been designated as Indian Territory. The forced relocations were carried out by various government authorities following the passage of the Indian Removal Act in 1830. The relocated people suffered from exposure, disease, and starvation while en route, and more than four thousand died before reaching their various destinations. The removal included members of the Cherokee
Cherokee
, Muscogee , Seminole , Chickasaw
Chickasaw
, and Choctaw
Choctaw
nations. The phrase "Trail of Tears" originated from a description of the removal of the Cherokee
Cherokee
Nation in 1838.

Between 1830 and 1850, the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole, and Cherokee
Cherokee
people (including mixed-race and black freedmen and slaves who lived among them) were forcibly removed from their traditional lands in the Southeastern United States, and relocated farther west. Those Native Americans that were relocated were forced to march to their destinations by state and local militias.

The Cherokee
Cherokee
removal in 1838 (the last forced removal east of the Mississippi) was brought on by the discovery of gold near Dahlonega, Georgia in 1828, resulting in the Georgia Gold Rush . Approximately 2,000-6,000 of the 16,543 relocated Cherokee
Cherokee
perished along the way.

CONTENTS

* 1 Historical context

* 1.1 Jackson\'s role * 1.2 Terminology

* 2 Legal background * 3 Choctaw
Choctaw
removal * 4 Seminole resistance * 5 Creek dissolution * 6 Chickasaw
Chickasaw
monetary removal

* 7 Cherokee
Cherokee
forced relocation

* 7.1 Eastern Cherokee
Cherokee
Restitution

* 8 Landmarks and references

* 8.1 Trail of Tears
Trail of Tears
outdoor historical drama, _Unto These Hills_ * 8.2 Commemorative medallion * 8.3 In literature and oral history

* 9 See also * 10 References * 11 Bibliography * 12 Documents * 13 Documentary * 14 External links

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

Map of United States Indian Removal , 1830-1835. Oklahoma
Oklahoma
is depicted in light yellow-green.

In 1830, a group of Indians collectively referred to as the Five Civilized Tribes , the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee, and Seminole, were living as autonomous nations in what would be later called the American Deep South . The process of cultural transformation, as proposed by George Washington
George Washington
and Henry Knox , was gaining momentum, especially among the Cherokee
Cherokee
and Choctaw.

American settlers had been pressuring the federal government to remove Indians from the Southeast; many settlers were encroaching on Indian lands, while others wanted more land made available to white settlers. Although the effort was vehemently opposed by many, including U.S. Congressman Davy Crockett of Tennessee, President Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
was able to gain Congressional passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which authorized the government to extinguish Indian title to lands in the Southeast.

In 1831, the Choctaw
Choctaw
became the first Nation to be removed, and their removal served as the model for all future relocations. After two wars, many Seminoles were removed in 1832. The Creek removal followed in 1834, the Chickasaw
Chickasaw
in 1837, and lastly the Cherokee
Cherokee
in 1838. Many Indians remained in their ancestral homelands; some Choctaw
Choctaw
are found in Mississippi, Creek in Alabama
Alabama
and Florida, Cherokee
Cherokee
in North Carolina , and Seminole in Florida; a small group had moved to the Everglades and were never defeated by the government of the United States. A limited number of non-Indians, including some of Africans descent (some as slaves, and others as spouses or freedmen), also accompanied the Indians on the trek westward. By 1837, 46,000 Indians from the southeastern states had been removed from their homelands, thereby opening 25 million acres (100,000 km2) for predominantly white settlement.

Prior to 1830, the fixed boundaries of these autonomous tribal nations , comprising large areas of the United States, were subject to continual cession and annexation, in part due to pressure from squatters and the threat of military force in the newly declared U.S. territories —federally administered regions whose boundaries supervened upon the Native treaty claims. As these territories became U.S. states , state governments sought to dissolve the boundaries of the Indian nations within their borders, which were independent of state jurisdiction, and to expropriate the land therein. These pressures were exacerbated by U.S. population growth and the expansion of slavery in the South, with the rapid development of cotton cultivation in the uplands following the invention of the cotton gin .

JACKSON\'S ROLE

The removals, conducted under Presidents Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
and Martin Van Buren , followed the Indian Removal Act of 1830 . The Act provided the President with powers to exchange land with Native tribes and provide infrastructure improvements on the existing lands. The law also gave the president power to pay for transportation costs to the West, should tribes choose to relocate. The law did not, however, allow the President to force tribes to move West without a mutually agreed-upon treaty.

In the years following the Act, the Cherokee
Cherokee
filed several lawsuits regarding conflicts with the state of Georgia. Some of these cases reached the Supreme Court, the most influential being _Worcester v. Georgia _ (1832). Samuel Worcester and other non-Indians were convicted by Georgia law for residing in Cherokee
Cherokee
territory in the state of Georgia, without a license. Worcester was sentenced to prison for four years and appealed the ruling, arguing that this sentence violated treaties made between Indian nations and the United States federal government by imposing state laws on Cherokee
Cherokee
lands. The Court ruled in Worcester's favor, declaring that the Cherokee
Cherokee
Nation was subject only to federal law and that the Supremacy Clause barred legislative interference by the state of Georgia. Chief Justice Marshall argued, "The Cherokee
Cherokee
nation, then, is a distinct community occupying its own territory in which the laws of Georgia can have no force. The whole intercourse between the United States and this Nation, is, by our constitution and laws, vested in the government of the United States."

Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
did not listen to the Supreme Court mandate barring Georgia from intruding on Cherokee
Cherokee
lands. He feared that enforcement would lead to open warfare between federal troops and the Georgia militia, which would compound the ongoing crisis in South Carolina
South Carolina
and lead to a broader civil war. Instead, he vigorously negotiated a land exchange treaty with the Cherokee. Political opponents Henry Clay
Henry Clay
and John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
, who supported the _Worcester_ decision, were outraged by Jackson’s refusal to uphold Cherokee
Cherokee
claims against the state of Georgia. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote an account of Cherokee assimilation into the American culture, declaring his support of the _Worcester_ decision.

Jackson chose to continue with Indian removal, and negotiated The Treaty of New Echota , on December 29, 1835, which granted Cherokee Indians two years to move to Indian Territory (modern Oklahoma). Only a fraction of the Cherokees left voluntarily. The U.S. government, with assistance from state militias, forced most of the remaining Cherokees west in 1838. The Cherokees were temporarily remanded in camps in eastern Tennessee. In November, the Cherokee
Cherokee
were broken into groups of around 1,000 each and began the journey west. They endured heavy rains, snow, and freezing temperatures.

When the Cherokee
Cherokee
negotiated the Treaty of New Echota , they exchanged all their land east of the Mississippi
Mississippi
for land in modern Oklahoma
Oklahoma
and a $5 million payment from the federal government. Many Cherokee
Cherokee
felt betrayed that their leadership accepted the deal, and over 16,000 Cherokee
Cherokee
signed a petition to prevent the passage of the treaty. By the end of the decade in 1840, tens of thousands of Cherokee
Cherokee
and other tribes had been removed from their land east of the Mississippi
Mississippi
River. The Creek, Choctaw, Seminole, and Chicksaw were also relocated under the Indian Removal Act of 1830. One Choctaw leader portrayed the removal as "A Trail of Tears
Trail of Tears
and Deaths", a devastating event that removed most of the Native population of the southeastern United States from their traditional homelands.

TERMINOLOGY

The latter forced relocations have sometimes been referred to as "death marches ", in particular with reference to the Cherokee
Cherokee
march across the Midwest in 1838, which occurred on a predominantly land route.

Indians who had the means initially provided for their own removal. Contingents that were led by conductors from the U.S. Army included those led by Edward Deas , who was claimed to be a sympathizer for the Cherokee
Cherokee
plight. The largest death toll from the Cherokee
Cherokee
forced relocation comes from the period after the May 23, 1838 deadline. This was at the point when the remaining Cherokee
Cherokee
were rounded into camps and pressed into oversized detachments, often over 700 in size (larger than the populations of Little Rock
Little Rock
or Memphis at that time). Communicable diseases spread quickly through these closely quartered groups, killing many. These contingents were among the last to move, but following the same routes the others had taken; the areas they were going through had been depleted of supplies due to the vast numbers that had gone before them. The marchers were subject to extortion and violence along the route. In addition, these final contingents were forced to set out during the hottest and coldest months of the year, killing many. Exposure to the elements, disease and starvation, harassment by local frontiersmen, and insufficient rations similarly killed up to one-third of the Choctaw
Choctaw
and other nations on the march.

There exists some debate among historians and the affected tribes as to whether the term "Trail of Tears" should be used to refer to the entire history of forced relocations from the United States east of the Mississippi
Mississippi
into Indian Territory (as was the stated U.S. policy), or to the Five Tribes described above, to the route of the land march specifically, or to specific marches in which the remaining holdouts from each area were rounded up.

LEGAL BACKGROUND

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The territorial boundaries claimed as sovereign and controlled by the Indian nations living in what were then known as the Indian Territories—the portion of the early United States west of the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
not yet claimed or allotted to become Oklahoma —were fixed and determined by national treaties with the United States federal government . These recognized the tribal governments as dependent but internally sovereign , or autonomous nations under the sole jurisdiction of the federal government.

While retaining their tribal governance, which included a constitution or official council in tribes such as the Iroquois
Iroquois
and Cherokee, many portions of the southeastern Indian nations had become partially or completely economically integrated into the economy of the region. This included the plantation economy in states such as Georgia , and the possession of slaves . These slaves were also forcibly relocated during the process of removal. A similar process had occurred earlier in the territories controlled by the Confederacy of the Six Nations in what is now upstate New York prior to the British invasion and subsequent U.S. annexation of the Iroquois nation.

Under the history of U.S. treaty law, the territorial boundaries claimed by federally recognized tribes received the same status under which the Southeastern tribal claims were recognized; until the following establishment of reservations of land, determined by the federal government, which were ceded to the remaining tribes by _de jure _ treaty, in a process that often entailed forced relocation . The establishment of the Indian Territory and the extinguishment of Indian land claims east of the Mississippi
Mississippi
anticipated the establishment of the U.S. Indian reservation system. It was imposed on remaining Indian lands later in the 19th century.

The statutory argument for Indian sovereignty persisted until the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
ruled in _ Cherokee
Cherokee
Nation v. Georgia _ (1831), that (_e.g._) the Cherokee
Cherokee
were not a sovereign and independent nation, and therefore not entitled to a hearing before the court. However, in _ Worcester v. Georgia _ (1832), the court re-established limited internal sovereignty under the sole jurisdiction of the federal government, in a ruling that both opposed the subsequent forced relocation and set the basis for modern U.S. case law.

While the latter ruling was defied by Jackson, the actions of the Jackson administration were not isolated because state and federal officials had violated treaties without consequence, often attributed to military exigency , as the members of individual Indian nations were not automatically United States citizens and were rarely given standing in any U.S. court.

Jackson's involvement in what became known as the Trail of Tears cannot be ignored. In a speech regarding Indian removal, Jackson said, "It will separate the Indians from immediate contact with settlements of whites; free them from the power of the States; enable them to pursue happiness in their own way and under their own rude institutions; will retard the progress of decay, which is lessening their numbers, and perhaps cause them gradually, under the protection of the Government and through the influence of good counsels, to cast off their savage habits and become an interesting, civilized, and Christian community.” According to Jackson, the move would be nothing but beneficial for all parties. His point of view garnered support from many Americans, many of whom would benefit economically from the removal.

This was compounded by the fact that while citizenship tests existed for Indians living in newly annexed areas before and after forced relocation, individual U.S. states did not recognize tribal land claims, only individual title under State law, and distinguished between the rights of white and non-white citizens, who often had limited standing in court; and Indian removal was carried out under U.S. military jurisdiction, often by state militias. As a result, individual Indians who could prove U.S. citizenship were nevertheless displaced from newly annexed areas. The military actions and subsequent treaties enacted by Jackson's and Martin Van Buren 's administrations pursuant to the 1830 law, which Tennessee
Tennessee
Congressman Davy Crockett had unsuccessfully voted against, are widely considered to have directly caused the expulsion or death of a substantial part of the Indian population then living in the southeastern United States.

CHOCTAW REMOVAL

George W. Harkins Main article: Choctaw
Choctaw
Trail of Tears
Trail of Tears

The Choctaw
Choctaw
nation occupied large portions of what are now the U.S. states of Alabama
Alabama
, Mississippi
Mississippi
, and Louisiana
Louisiana
. After a series of treaties starting in 1801, the Choctaw
Choctaw
nation was reduced to 11,000,000 acres (45,000 km2). The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek ceded the remaining country to the United States and was ratified in early 1831. The removals were only agreed to after a provision in the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek allowed some Choctaw
Choctaw
to remain. George W. Harkins wrote to the citizens of the United States before the removals were to commence:

It is with considerable diffidence that I attempt to address the American people, knowing and feeling sensibly my incompetency; and believing that your highly and well improved minds would not be well entertained by the address of a Choctaw. But having determined to emigrate west of the Mississippi
Mississippi
river this fall, I have thought proper in bidding you farewell to make a few remarks expressive of my views, and the feelings that actuate me on the subject of our removal.... We as Choctaws rather chose to suffer and be free, than live under the degrading influence of laws, which our voice could not be heard in their formation. — George W. Harkins, George W. Harkins to the American People

United States Secretary of War Lewis Cass appointed George Gaines to manage the removals. Gaines decided to remove Choctaws in three phases starting in 1831 and ending in 1833. The first was to begin on November 1, 1831 with groups meeting at Memphis and Vicksburg. A harsh winter would batter the emigrants with flash floods, sleet, and snow. Initially the Choctaws were to be transported by wagon but floods halted them. With food running out, the residents of Vicksburg and Memphis were concerned. Five steamboats (the Walter Scott, the Brandywine, the Reindeer, the Talma, and the Cleopatra) would ferry Choctaws to their river-based destinations. The Memphis group traveled up the Arkansas for about 60 miles (100 km) to Arkansas Post. There the temperature stayed below freezing for almost a week with the rivers clogged with ice, so there could be no travel for weeks. Food rationing consisted of a handful of boiled corn, one turnip, and two cups of heated water per day. Forty government wagons were sent to Arkansas Post to transport them to Little Rock. When they reached Little Rock, a Choctaw
Choctaw
chief referred to their trek as a "_trail of tears and death_." The Vicksburg group was led by an incompetent guide and was lost in the Lake Providence swamps. Alexis de Tocqueville , French political thinker and historian

Alexis de Tocqueville
Alexis de Tocqueville
, the French philosopher, witnessed the Choctaw removals while in Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis, Tennessee
in 1831,

In the whole scene there was an air of ruin and destruction, something which betrayed a final and irrevocable adieu; one couldn't watch without feeling one's heart wrung. The Indians were tranquil, but sombre and taciturn. There was one who could speak English and of whom I asked why the Chactas were leaving their country. "To be free," he answered, could never get any other reason out of him. We ... watch the expulsion ... of one of the most celebrated and ancient American peoples. — Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Nearly 17,000 Choctaws made the move to what would be called Indian Territory and then later Oklahoma
Oklahoma
. About 2,500–6,000 died along the trail of tears. Approximately 5,000–6,000 Choctaws remained in Mississippi
Mississippi
in 1831 after the initial removal efforts. The Choctaws who chose to remain in newly formed Mississippi
Mississippi
were subject to legal conflict, harassment, and intimidation. The Choctaws "have had our habitations torn down and burned, our fences destroyed, cattle turned into our fields and we ourselves have been scourged, manacled, fettered and otherwise personally abused, until by such treatment some of our best men have died." The Choctaws in Mississippi
Mississippi
were later reformed as the Mississippi
Mississippi
Band of Choctaw
Choctaw
Indians and the removed Choctaws became the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
. The Choctaws were the first to sign a removal treaty presented by the federal government. President Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
wanted strong negotiations with the Choctaws in Mississippi, and the Choctaws seemed much more cooperative than Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
had imagined. When commissioners and Choctaws came to negotiation agreements it was said the United States would bear the expense of moving their homes and that they had to be removed within two and a half years of the signed treaty.

SEMINOLE RESISTANCE

Main article: Seminole Wars

The U.S. acquired Florida from Spain
Spain
via the Adams–Onís Treaty and took possession in 1821. In 1832 the Seminoles were called to a meeting at Payne's Landing on the Ocklawaha River . The treaty negotiated called for the Seminoles to move west, if the land were found to be suitable. They were to be settled on the Creek reservation and become part of the Creek tribe, who considered them deserters; some of the Seminoles had been derived from Creek bands but also from other tribes. Those among the tribe who once were members of Creek bands did not wish to move west to where they were certain that they would meet death for leaving the main band of Creek Indians. The delegation of seven chiefs who were to inspect the new reservation did not leave Florida until October 1832. After touring the area for several months and conferring with the Creeks who had already settled there, the seven chiefs signed a statement on March 28, 1833 that the new land was acceptable. Upon their return to Florida, however, most of the chiefs renounced the statement, claiming that they had not signed it, or that they had been forced to sign it, and in any case, that they did not have the power to decide for all the tribes and bands that resided on the reservation. The villages in the area of the Apalachicola River were more easily persuaded, however, and went west in 1834. On December 28, 1835 a group of Seminoles and blacks ambushed a U.S. Army company marching from Fort Brooke in Tampa to Fort King in Ocala
Ocala
, killing all but three of the 110 army troops. This came to be known as the Dade Massacre . Seminole warrior Tuko-see-mathla, 1834

As the realization that the Seminoles would resist relocation sank in, Florida began preparing for war. The St. Augustine Militia asked the War Department for the loan of 500 muskets. Five hundred volunteers were mobilized under Brig. Gen. Richard K. Call . Indian war parties raided farms and settlements, and families fled to forts, large towns, or out of the territory altogether. A war party led by Osceola
Osceola
captured a Florida militia supply train, killing eight of its guards and wounding six others. Most of the goods taken were recovered by the militia in another fight a few days later. Sugar plantations along the Atlantic coast south of St. Augustine were destroyed, with many of the slaves on the plantations joining the Seminoles.

Other warchiefs such as Halleck Tustenuggee , Jumper, and Black Seminoles Abraham and John Horse continued the Seminole resistance against the army. The war ended, after a full decade of fighting, in 1842. The U.S. government is estimated to have spent about $20,000,000 on the war, at the time an astronomical sum, and equal to $496,344,828 today. Many Indians were forcibly exiled to Creek lands west of the Mississippi; others retreated into the Everglades. In the end, the government gave up trying to subjugate the Seminole in their Everglades redoubts and left fewer than 100 Seminoles in peace. However, other scholars state that at least several hundred Seminoles remained in the Everglades after the Seminole Wars.

As a result of the Seminole Wars, the surviving Seminole band of the Everglades claims to be the only federally recognized tribe which never relinquished sovereignty or signed a peace treaty with the United States.

In general the American people tended to view the Indian resistance as unwarranted. An article published by the Virginia Enquirer on January 26, 1836, called the "Hostilities of the Seminoles", assigned all the blame for the violence that came from the Seminole's resistance to the Seminoles themselves. The article accuses the Indians of not staying true to their word—the promises they supposedly made in the treaties and negotiations from the Indian Removal Act.

CREEK DISSOLUTION

Main article: Muscogee Selocta (or Shelocta) was a Muscogee chief who appealed to Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
to reduce the demands for Creek lands at the signing of the Treaty of Fort Jackson

After the War of 1812, some Muscogee leaders such as William McIntosh signed treaties that ceded more land to Georgia. The 1814 signing of the Treaty of Fort Jackson signaled the end for the Creek Nation and for all Indians in the South. Friendly Creek leaders, like Selocta and Big Warrior, addressed Sharp Knife (the Indian nickname for Andrew Jackson) and reminded him that they keep the peace. Nevertheless, Jackson retorted that they did not "cut ( Tecumseh 's) throat" when they had the chance, so they must now cede Creek lands. Jackson also ignored Article 9 of the Treaty of Ghent that restored sovereignty to Indians and their nations.

Jackson opened this first peace session by faintly acknowledging the help of the friendly Creeks. That done, he turned to the Red Sticks and admonished them for listening to evil counsel. For their crime, he said, the entire Creek Nation must pay. He demanded the equivalent of all expenses incurred by the United States in prosecuting the war, which by his calculation came to 23,000,000 acres (93,000 km2) of land. - Robert V. Remini, _Andrew Jackson_

Eventually, the Creek Confederacy enacted a law that made further land cessions a capital offense . Nevertheless, on February 12, 1825, McIntosh and other chiefs signed the Treaty of Indian Springs , which gave up most of the remaining Creek lands in Georgia. After the U.S. Senate ratified the treaty, McIntosh was assassinated on May 13, 1825, by Creeks led by Menawa.

The Creek National Council, led by Opothle Yohola , protested to the United States that the Treaty of Indian Springs was fraudulent. President John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
was sympathetic, and eventually the treaty was nullified in a new agreement, the Treaty of Washington (1826) . The historian R. Douglas Hurt wrote: "The Creeks had accomplished what no Indian nation had ever done or would do again — achieve the annulment of a ratified treaty." However, Governor Troup of Georgia ignored the new treaty and began to forcibly remove the Indians under the terms of the earlier treaty. At first, President Adams attempted to intervene with federal troops, but Troup called out the militia, and Adams, fearful of a civil war, conceded. As he explained to his intimates, "The Indians are not worth going to war over."

Although the Creeks had been forced from Georgia, with many Lower Creeks moving to the Indian Territory , there were still about 20,000 Upper Creeks living in Alabama. However, the state moved to abolish tribal governments and extend state laws over the Creeks. Opothle Yohola appealed to the administration of President Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
for protection from Alabama; when none was forthcoming, the Treaty of Cusseta was signed on March 24, 1832, which divided up Creek lands into individual allotments. Creeks could either sell their allotments and receive funds to remove to the west, or stay in Alabama
Alabama
and submit to state laws. The Creeks were never given a fair chance to comply with the terms of the treaty, however. Rampant illegal settlement of their lands by Americans continued unabated with federal and state authorities unable or unwilling to do much to halt it. Further, as recently detailed by historian Billy Winn in his thorough chronicle of the events leading to removal, a variety of fraudulent schemes designed to cheat the Creeks out of their allotments, many of them organized by speculators operating out of Columbus, Georgia and Montgomery, Alabama, were perpetrated after the signing of the Treaty of Cusseta. A portion of the beleaguered Creeks, many desperately poor and feeling abused and oppressed by their American neighbors, struck back by carrying out occasional raids on area farms and committing other isolated acts of violence. Escalating tensions erupted into open war with the United States following the destruction of the village of Roanoke, Georgia, located along the Chattahoochee River on the boundary between Creek and American territory, in May 1836. During the so-called " Creek War of 1836 " Secretary of War Lewis Cass dispatched General Winfield Scott to end the violence by forcibly removing the Creeks to the Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River. With the Indian Removal Act of 1830 it continued into 1835 and after as in 1836 over 15,000 Creeks were driven from their land for the last time. 3,500 of those 15,000 Creeks did not survive the trip to Oklahoma
Oklahoma
where they eventually settled.

CHICKASAW MONETARY REMOVAL

Historic Marker in Marion, Arkansas , for the Trail of Tears
Trail of Tears
Play media Fragment of the Trail of Tears
Trail of Tears
still intact at Village Creek State Park , Arkansas (2010) Main article: Chickasaw
Chickasaw

The Chickasaw
Chickasaw
received financial compensation from the United States for their lands east of the Mississippi
Mississippi
River. In 1836, the Chickasaws had reached an agreement to purchase land from the previously removed Choctaws after a bitter five-year debate. They paid the Choctaws $530,000 (equal to $11,558,818 today) for the westernmost part of the Choctaw
Choctaw
land. The first group of Chickasaws moved in 1836 and was led by John M. Millard. The Chickasaws gathered at Memphis on July 4, 1836, with all of their assets—belongings, livestock, and slaves. Once across the Mississippi
Mississippi
River, they followed routes previously established by the Choctaws and the Creeks. Once in Indian Territory , the Chickasaws merged with the Choctaw
Choctaw
nation.

CHEROKEE FORCED RELOCATION

Main article: Cherokee
Cherokee
removal Cherokee
Cherokee
Principal Chief John Ross , photographed before his death in 1866

By 1838, about 2,000 Cherokee
Cherokee
had voluntarily relocated from Georgia to Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma). Forcible removals began in May 1838 when General Winfield Scott received a final order from President Martin Van Buren to relocate the remaining Cherokees. Approximately 4,000 Cherokees died in the ensuing trek to Oklahoma. In the Cherokee
Cherokee
language , the event is called _nu na da ul tsun yi_ (“the place where they cried”) or _nu na hi du na tlo hi lu i_ (the trail where they cried). The Cherokee
Cherokee
Trail of Tears
Trail of Tears
resulted from the enforcement of the Treaty of New Echota , an agreement signed under the provisions of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which exchanged Indian land in the East for lands west of the Mississippi River , but which was never accepted by the elected tribal leadership or a majority of the Cherokee
Cherokee
people.

The sparsely inhabited Cherokee
Cherokee
lands were highly attractive to Georgian farmers experiencing population pressure, and illegal settlements resulted. Long-simmering tensions between Georgia and the Cherokee
Cherokee
Nation were brought to a crisis by the discovery of gold near Dahlonega, Georgia , in 1829, resulting in the Georgia Gold Rush , the second gold rush in U.S. history. Hopeful gold speculators began trespassing on Cherokee
Cherokee
lands, and pressure mounted to fulfill the _ Compact of 1802 _ in which the US Government promised to extinguish Indian land claims in the state of Georgia.

When Georgia moved to extend state laws over Cherokee
Cherokee
lands in 1830, the matter went to the U.S. Supreme Court . In _ Cherokee
Cherokee
Nation v. Georgia _ (1831), the Marshall court ruled that the Cherokee
Cherokee
Nation was not a sovereign and independent nation, and therefore refused to hear the case. However, in _ Worcester v. Georgia _ (1832), the Court ruled that Georgia could not impose laws in Cherokee
Cherokee
territory, since only the national government — not state governments — had authority in Indian affairs. _ Worcester v Georgia _ is associated with Andrew Jackson's famous, though apocryphal, quote " John Marshall
John Marshall
has made his decision; now let him enforce it!" In reality, this quote did not appear until 30 years after the incident and was first printed in a textbook authored by Jackson critic Horace Greeley . Elizabeth "Betsy" Brown Stephens (1903), a Cherokee
Cherokee
Indian who walked the Trail of Tears in 1838

Fearing open warfare between federal troops and the Georgia militia, Jackson decided not to enforce Cherokee
Cherokee
claims against the state of Georgia. He was already embroiled in a constitutional crisis with South Carolina
South Carolina
(i.e. the nullification crisis ) and favored Cherokee relocation over civil war. With the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the U.S. Congress had given Jackson authority to negotiate removal treaties, exchanging Indian land in the East for land west of the Mississippi
Mississippi
River. Jackson used the dispute with Georgia to put pressure on the Cherokees to sign a removal treaty.

The final treaty, passed in Congress by a single vote, and signed by President Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
, was imposed by his successor President Martin Van Buren . Van Buren allowed Georgia , Tennessee
Tennessee
, North Carolina , and Alabama
Alabama
an armed force of 7,000 militiamen, army regulars, and volunteers under General Winfield Scott to relocate about 13,000 Cherokees to Cleveland, Tennessee. After the initial roundup, the U.S. military oversaw the emigration to Oklahoma. Former Cherokee
Cherokee
lands were immediately opened to settlement. Most of the deaths during the journey were caused by disease, malnutrition, and exposure during an unusually cold winter.

In the winter of 1838 the Cherokee
Cherokee
began the 1,000-mile (1,600 km) march with scant clothing and most on foot without shoes or moccasins. The march began in Red Clay, Tennessee
Tennessee
, the location of the last Eastern capital of the Cherokee
Cherokee
Nation. Because of the diseases, the Indians were not allowed to go into any towns or villages along the way; many times this meant traveling much farther to go around them. After crossing Tennessee
Tennessee
and Kentucky, they arrived at the Ohio River across from Golconda in southern Illinois about the 3rd of December 1838. Here the starving Indians were charged a dollar a head (equal to $22.49 today) to cross the river on "Berry's Ferry" which typically charged twelve cents, equal to $2.70 today. They were not allowed passage until the ferry had serviced all others wishing to cross and were forced to take shelter under "Mantle Rock," a shelter bluff on the Kentucky side, until "Berry had nothing better to do". Many died huddled together at Mantle Rock waiting to cross. Several Cherokee were murdered by locals. The Cherokee
Cherokee
filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Government through the courthouse in Vienna , suing the government for $35 a head (equal to $787.17 today) to bury the murdered Cherokee.

As they crossed southern Illinois, on December 26, Martin Davis, Commissary Agent for Moses Daniel's detachment, wrote: "There is the coldest weather in Illinois I ever experienced anywhere. The streams are all frozen over something like 8 or 12 inches thick. We are compelled to cut through the ice to get water for ourselves and animals. It snows here every two or three days at the fartherest. We are now camped in Mississippi
Mississippi
swamp 4 miles (6 km) from the river, and there is no possible chance of crossing the river for the numerous quantity of ice that comes floating down the river every day. We have only traveled 65 miles (105 km) on the last month, including the time spent at this place, which has been about three weeks. It is unknown when we shall cross the river...."

I fought through the War Between the States and have seen many men shot, but the Cherokee
Cherokee
Removal was the cruelest work I ever knew. — Georgian soldier who participated in the removal A Trail of Tears map of Southern Illinois from the USDA - U.S. Forest Service

It eventually took almost three months to cross the 60 miles (97 kilometres) on land between the Ohio and Mississippi
Mississippi
Rivers. The trek through southern Illinois is where the Cherokee
Cherokee
suffered most of their deaths. However a few years before forced removal, some Cherokee
Cherokee
who opted to leave their homes voluntarily chose a water-based route through the Tennessee, Ohio and Mississippi
Mississippi
rivers. It took only 21 days, but the Cherokee
Cherokee
who were forcibly relocated were weary of water travel.

Removed Cherokees initially settled near Tahlequah, Oklahoma
Oklahoma
. When signing the Treaty of New Echota in 1835 Major Ridge said "I have signed my death warrant." The resulting political turmoil led to the killings of Major Ridge , John Ridge , and Elias Boudinot ; of the leaders of the Treaty Party, only Stand Watie
Stand Watie
escaped death. The population of the Cherokee
Cherokee
Nation eventually rebounded, and today the Cherokees are the largest American Indian group in the United States.

There were some exceptions to removal. Perhaps 100 Cherokees evaded the U.S. soldiers and lived off the land in Georgia and other states. Those Cherokees who lived on private, individually owned lands (rather than communally owned tribal land) were not subject to removal. In North Carolina, about 400 Cherokees, known as the Oconaluftee Cherokee, lived on land in the Great Smoky Mountains owned by a white man named William Holland Thomas (who had been adopted by Cherokees as a boy), and were thus not subject to removal. Added to this were some 200 Cherokee
Cherokee
from the Nantahala area allowed to stay in the Qualla Boundary after assisting the U.S. Army in hunting down and capturing the family of the old prophet, Tsali (who faced a firing squad after capture). These North Carolina
North Carolina
Cherokees became the Eastern Band of the Cherokee
Cherokee
Nation .

EASTERN CHEROKEE RESTITUTION

The United States Court of Claims ruled in favor of the Eastern Cherokee
Cherokee
Tribe's claim against the U.S. on May 18, 1905. This resulted in the appropriation of $1 million (equal to $27,438,023.04 today) to the Tribe’s eligible individuals and families. Interior Department employee Guion Miller created a list using several rolls and applications to verify tribal enrollment for the distribution of funds, known as the Guion Miller Roll. The applications received documented over 125,000 individuals; the court approved more than 30,000 individuals to share in the funds.

LANDMARKS AND REFERENCES

Map of National Historic trails

In 1987, about 2,200 miles (3,500 km) of trails were authorized by federal law to mark the removal of 17 detachments of the Cherokee people. Called the " Trail of Tears
Trail of Tears
National Historic Trail ," it traverses portions of nine states and includes land and water routes.

TRAIL OF TEARS OUTDOOR HISTORICAL DRAMA, _UNTO THESE HILLS_

An historical drama based on the Trail of Tears, _ Unto These Hills _ written by Kermit Hunter , has sold over five million tickets for its performances since its opening on July 1, 1950, both touring and at the outdoor Mountainside Theater of the Cherokee
Cherokee
Historical Association in Cherokee, North Carolina
North Carolina
.

COMMEMORATIVE MEDALLION

Cherokee
Cherokee
artist Troy Anderson was commissioned to design the _ Cherokee
Cherokee
Trail of Tears
Trail of Tears
Sesquicentennial Commemorative Medallion_. The falling-tear medallion shows a seven-pointed star, the symbol of the seven clans of the Cherokees.

IN LITERATURE AND ORAL HISTORY

* _Family Stories From the Trail of Tears_ is a collection edited by Lorrie Montiero and transcribed by Grant Foreman, taken from the Indian-Pioneer History Collection * _ Walking the Trail _ (1991) is a book by Jerry Ellis describing his 900-mile walk retracing of the Trail of Tears
Trail of Tears
in reverse

SEE ALSO

* Ethnic cleansing and forced migration , modern terms for the forced relocation of a people * Expulsion of the Acadians
Expulsion of the Acadians
* Hopkinsville, Kentucky * Long Walk of the Navajo , a later forced removal * Native American
Native American
genocide * Population transfer * Potawatomi Trail of Death * Timeline of Cherokee
Cherokee
removal

REFERENCES

* ^ "Trail of Tears". _ History.com _. * ^ "A Brief History of the Trail of Tears". _Cherokee.org_. * ^ "Historical Documents: The Trail of Tears, 1942". _PBS.org_. * ^ Minges, Patrick (1998). "Beneath the Underdog: Race, Religion, and the Trail of Tears". _US Data Repository_. Retrieved January 13, 2013. * ^ "Indian removal". PBS. Retrieved June 11, 2014. * ^ Inskeep, Steve (2015). _Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee
Cherokee
Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab_. New York: Penguin Press. pp. 332–333. ISBN 978-1-59420-556-9 . * ^ Prucha. _Great Father__. p. 241._ note 58 * ^ Ehle. _Trail of Tears_. pp. 390–92. * ^ Thompson, Russel & Anderson (Editor). "Demography of the Trail of Tears". _Trail of Tears_. pp. 75–93. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link ) * ^ Carter (III), Samuel (1976). _ Cherokee
Cherokee
sunset: A Nation Betrayed: A Narrative of Travail and Triumph, Persecution and exile_. New York: Doubleday. p. 232. * ^ Curtis, Nancy C. (1996). _Black Heritage Sites_. United States: ALA Editions. p. 543. ISBN 0-8389-0643-5 . * ^ Perdue, Theda (2003). "Chapter 2 'Both White and Red'". _Mixed Blood Indians: Racial Construction in the Early South_. The University of Georgia Press. p. 51. ISBN 0-8203-2731-X . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Indian removals 1814 - 1858. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Jahoda, Gloria (1975). _Trail of Tears: The Story of the American Indian Removal 1813-1855_. ISBN 978-0-517-14677-4 . * ^ Cave, Alfred. "Abuse of Power: Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
and the Indian Removal Act of 1830". * ^ Coates, Julia. _Trail of Tears_. * ^ "Worcester v. Georgia". _Oyez_. Retrieved February 5, 2017. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Miles, Edwin A (November 1973). "After John Marshall’s Decision: Worcester v Georgia and the Nullification Crisis". The Journal of Southern History. * ^ Cave, Alfred. "Abuse of Power: Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
and the Indian Removal Act of 1830". * ^ Frey, Rebecca Joyce (2009). _Genocide and International Justice_. Infobase Publishing. pp. 128–131. ISBN 978-0816073108 . Retrieved December 16, 2016. * ^ Emerson, Ralph Waldo. "Letter to Martin Van Buren President of the United States 1836". www.cherokee.org/. Retrieved June 14, 2016. * ^ River, Charles. _The Trail of Tears: Forced Removal of Five Civilized Tribes_. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ "Trail of Tears". _History Channel_. Retrieved December 15, 2014. * ^ _A_ _B_ Baird, David (1973). "The Choctaws Meet the Americans, 1783 to 1843". _The Choctaw
Choctaw
People_. United States: Indian Tribal Series. p. 36. ASIN B000CIIGTW . * ^ Gilbert, Joan (1996). "The Cherokee
Cherokee
Home in the East". _The Trail of Tears
Trail of Tears
Across Missouri_. University of Missouri Press. p. 14. ISBN 0-8262-1063-5 . * ^ Groneman 2005 , p. 97. * ^ Harkins, George (1831). "1831 - December - George W. Harkins to the American People". Retrieved April 23, 2008. * ^ Sandra Faiman-Silva (1997). _Choctaws at the Crossroads_. University of Nebraska Press. p. 19. ISBN 978-0803269026 . * ^ de Tocqueville, Alexis (1835–1840). "Tocqueville and Beaumont on Race". Retrieved April 28, 2008. * ^ Satz, Ronald (1986). "The Mississippi
Mississippi
Choctaw: From the Removal Treaty of the Federal Agency". In Samuel J. Wells and Roseanna Tuby. _After Removal: The Choctaw
Choctaw
in Mississippi_. University Press of Mississippi. p. 7. ISBN 0-87805-289-5 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Walter, Williams (1979). "Three Efforts at Development among the Choctaws of Mississippi". _Southeastern Indians: Since the Removal Era_. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press. * ^ Davis, Ethan. "An Administrative Trail of Tears: Indian Removal." American Journal of Legal History 50, no. 1 (2008): 65-68. Accessed December 15, 2014. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25664483 * ^ Missall. pp. 83-85. * ^ Missall. pp. 93-94. * ^ Covington, James W. 1993. The Seminoles of Florida. Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida. ISBN 0-8130-1196-5 . pp. 145-6. * ^ Morris, Theodore. 2004. Florida's Lost Tribes. Universities Press of Florida State Universities, p. 63 * ^ Prucha, Francis Paul. The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians. Volume I. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1984. ISBN 0-8032-3668-9 . * ^ "Hostilities of the Seminoles." Enquirer 26 Jan. 1836: n. pag. Print. * ^ _A_ _B_ Remini, Robert (1998) . "The Creek War: Victory". _Andrew Jackson: The Course of American Empire, 1767-1821. Vol. 1_. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0801859115 . * ^ Oklahoma
Oklahoma
State University Library. "Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties. Vol. 2, Treaties". Digital.library.okstate.edu. Retrieved January 25, 2009. * ^ Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties. * ^ Hurt, R. Douglas (2002). _The Indian Frontier, 1763-1846 (Histories of the American Frontier)_. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. p. 148. ISBN 0-8263-1966-1 . * ^ Oklahoma
Oklahoma
State University Library. "Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties. Vol. 2, Treaties". Digital.library.okstate.edu. Retrieved January 25, 2009. * ^ Winn, William W. _The Triumph of the Ecunnau-Nuxulgee: Land Speculators, George M. Troup, State Rights, and the Removal of the Creek Indians from Georgia and Alabama, 1825-38_. Macon: Mercer University Press, 2015. 9780881465228. * ^ Cherokee
Cherokee
Nation of Oklahoma: cherokee.org * ^ Remini, _Andrew Jackson_, p. 257, Prucha, _Great Father_, p. 212. * ^ Myths of the Cherokee
Cherokee
and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees By James Mooney, p. 130. * ^ _A_ _B_ Illinois General Assembly - HJR0142. * ^ Adams, Mattie Lorraine. Family Tree of Daniel and Rachel Davis. Duluth, Georgia: Claxton Printing Company, 1973. * ^ Remini, Robert (2000). "Invasion". _The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America_. Grove Press. p. 170. ISBN 0-8021-3680-X . * ^ " The Trail of Tears in Southern Illinois" (PDF). _US Forest Service_. USDA. Retrieved April 7, 2015. * ^ Rush, Linda (November 10, 2011). "The Cherokee
Cherokee
Nation in Southern Illinois". _The Southern_. The Southern Illinoisan. Retrieved April 7, 2015. * ^ Corlew, Robert Ewing (1990). _Tennessee: A Short History_. United States: University of Tennessee
Tennessee
Press. p. 153. ISBN 0-87049-647-6 . * ^ Eastern Band of the Cherokee
Cherokee
Indians. " Cherokee
Cherokee
Heritage Trails". Museum of the Cherokee
Cherokee
Indian. Retrieved August 16, 2010. * ^ Hooper, Ed. "Chief John Ross". Tennessee
Tennessee
History Magazine. Retrieved August 16, 2010. * ^ "Top 25 American Indian Tribes for the United States: 1990 and 1980". U.S. Bureau of the Census. August 1995. * ^ _The Guion Miller Roll: Index to the Applications submitted for the Cherokee
Cherokee
Roll_. ISBN 978-1544972503 . * ^ "NPS.gov". NPS.gov. Retrieved July 8, 2012. * ^ Imgis.nps.gov * ^ "Unto These Hills, Mountainside Theater". _ Cherokee
Cherokee
Historical Association_. Retrieved March 8, 2013. * ^ "Unto These Hills, Drama of the Cherokee
Cherokee
Indian". _AboutCherokee.com_. Retrieved March 8, 2013. * ^ "Cherokees to Mark Anniversary of "Trail of Tears" to Oklahoma". _newsok.com/cherokees_. News OK. Retrieved March 11, 2015. * ^ Montiero, Lorrie & Foreman, Grant (Transcriber). _Family Stories From the Trail of Tears_. American Native Press Archives and Sequoyah Research Center. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link )

BIBLIOGRAPHY

* Anderson, William, ed. (1991). _ Cherokee
Cherokee
Removal: Before and After_. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press. ISBN 978-0-8203-1482-2 . * Bealer, Alex W. (1996) . _Only the Names Remain: The Cherokees and The Trail of Tears_. Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
: Little, Brown. ISBN 978-0-316-08519-9 . * Carter, Samuel (1976). _ Cherokee
Cherokee
Sunset: A Nation Betrayed_. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-06735-6 . * Ehle, John (1989) . _Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee
Cherokee
Nation_. New York: Anchor Books. ISBN 0-385-23954-8 . * Fitzgerald, David; King, Duane (2008). _The Cherokee
Cherokee
Trail of Tears_. Portland, Oregon: Graphic Arts Books. ISBN 978-0-88240-752-4 .

* Foreman, Grant (1989) . _Indian Removal: The Emigration of the Five Civilized Tribes of Indians_ (11 ed.). Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Press. ISBN 0-8061-1172-0 . * Gregg, Matthew T. and David M. Wishart. "The price of Cherokee removal." Explorations in Economic History Volume 49, Issue 4, October 2012, Pages 423–442 * Jahoda, Gloria (1995) . _Trail of Tears: The Story of the American Indian Removal 1813-1855_. Henry Holt & Co. ISBN 978-0-517-14677-4 . * Mooney, James (2007) . King, Duane, ed. _Myths of the Cherokee_. New York: Barnes & Noble. ISBN 978-0-7607-8340-5 . * Perdue, Theda; Green, Michael (2008) . _The Cherokee
Cherokee
Nation and the Trail of Tears_. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-311367-6 .

* Prucha, Francis (1984). _The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians_. Lincoln, Nebraska: Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-3668-9 . * Remini, Robert (2001). _ Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
and his Indian Wars_. New York: Viking. ISBN 0-670-91025-2 . * Wallace, Anthony (1993). _The Long, Bitter Trail: Andrew Jackson and the Indians_ (Hardback ed.). New York: Hill and Wang. ISBN 0-8090-6631-9 . * Wilson, James (1998). _The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America_. New York: Grove Press. ISBN 978-0-8021-3680-0 . * Winn, William W. (2015). _The Triumph of the Ecunnau-Nuxulgee: Land Speculators, George M. Troup, State Rights, and the Removal of the Creek Indians from Georgia and Alabama, 1825-38_. Macon: Mercer University Press. 9780881465228.

DOCUMENTS

* U.S. Senate (April 15–17, 1830). _ Cherokee
Cherokee
Indian Removal Debate_. * Scott, Winfield (May 10, 1838). _Winfield Scott\'s Address to the Cherokee
Cherokee
Nation_. * _Gen. Winfield Scott\'s Order to U.S. Troops Assigned to the Cherokee
Cherokee
Removal_. Cherokee
Cherokee
Agency. May 17, 1838.

DOCUMENTARY

* _The Trail of Tears: Cherokee
Cherokee
Legacy _ (2006) - directed by Chip Richie; narrated by James Earl Jones

EXTERNAL LINKS

_ Wikimedia Commons has media related to

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