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Trail of Tears - Cherokee Indians

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Is it socially acceptable today that a race seen as inferior to whites were forced to walk 1,200 miles and many died along the way? Definitely not, so why was it back then? At the beginning of the 1830s nearly 125,000 Indians lived on millions of acres of land, in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, and Florida (NPS,2015). Many white settlers wanted to grow cotton on their land, so the federal government made the Indians leave their homeland and walk to a designated area called “Indian territory” (US History,2009). The walk to the area was deadly. It took approximately nine months to complete. There were many Indian groups that were forced to take on the deadly walk, but the Cherokee Indian group took a stand against this unfairity. The Cherokee tribe took the crime to court. It went all the way to the supreme court and there the Cherokee tribe won their case. Although, Andrew Jackson had overturned the ruling. The trail that the Cherokees took on was named the trail of tears due to the diseases, hunger, and death the walk brought among them.

The process of getting the Indians away from their land was extremely forceful and deadly. President Martin Van Buren sent General Winfield Scott and 7,000 soldiers to expedite the removal process (US History,2009). Scott and his troops forced the Indians into stockades at bayonet point while whites looted their homes and belongings. Then, they marched the Indians more than 1,200 miles to Indian territory (US History,2009). Along the walk about 4,000 Indians died due to starvation, disease, and frostbite due to the lack of warm clothing they wore. When the survivors of the walk arrived at the territory, the tribes became divided (Nation,2015). They separated because the followers of the Cherokee leader murdered those who signed the Treaty of New Echota. The treaty was signed by believers that the Indians should be removed from their land. The trail of Tears ruined the Indian tribes involved.

The devastation of this deadly event nearly wiped out the Native American population that lived in the southeastern states. In 1838 many of the remaining Indians marched from Red Clay, Tennessee, the location of the last Cherokee capitol (A&E, 2015). An estimated 100 Cherokees evaded the U.S soldiers and lived off the land in Georgia and other states. Those Cherokees lived in private and individually owned land (A&E, 2015). Also, some Cherokees hiked to Mississippi, Arizona, and other states. That is why there are many Indian ethnicities all over the United States today.

This genocide might not have happened if the white people had negotiated some of the Indian land and did not force all of them away from it. Also, if the whites never had thought the Indians were inferior then nothing would have even happened. Genocides like this one and others can be eliminated. It could happen if everyone thought and knew every race and religion is not better nor worse than their



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