Social Studies

what is the trail of tears

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The trail of tears is when they forces native Americans to move from their homes and live elsewhere


The Trail of Tears was a terrible injustice to the Native Americans of the Cherokee tribe. A little history first . . . Andrew Jackson was president and had long been in favor of moving or relocating the Natives to lands farther West to be out of the way of those white people who wanted to move away from the Eastern coastline. The Cherokee tribe was a very civilized tribe with laws, written language, farms (some even had plantations), businesses and regular homes like the colonists. They went to court over the "Indian Removal" program. At first they won the battle legally then the court over-turned the decision. The Cherokee Nation was paid only $5 million for all their land, businesses, home, etc. then forcibly taken to go toward Oklahoma. The Trail of Tears is what they called this 1200 mile journey from GA, SC & NC to OK that the Cherokee were forced to walk - yes, walk. This included the very old to the very young. The government did not plan the timing of the trip well so the journey was done during the winter months. They divided the Cherokee into 2 groups. One took the southern route and one took the northern route. Many, as many as 5000, died on this journey because of inappropriate clothing for winter, no shoes, very little food, disease, whooping cough, dysentery, pneumonia and other complications. People had to leave their loved ones across the 1200 miles in burial graves far from sacred land. That is where Trail of Tears comes from. Side story about the Trail of Tears. My great, great grandfather was born on the northern trail in Missouri. His mother was dying from starvation and knew she could not take care of him or make it to OK. Making a very hard decision, she gave her child to a band of gypsies to raise.

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