Trail of Tears - Sun Associates

A Brief History of The
Trail of Tears
By Nora
Group T-6
December 9, 2001
How It Began
Before our story really starts, the Cherokee
Indians of Georgia were living fairly
peacefully in their ancestral homeland.
They farmed the fertile land, and hunted.
They had their own constitution, religion,
and government. Mostly, they didn’t bother
the white people nearby. One chief even
saved the life of the President in a battle.
How It Began
All this was soon to change, though. When gold
was found on Cherokee land, the whites wanted
out with the Native Americans so they could farm
the rich land and dig for gold. The Cherokee, who
had seen other tribes moved and knew how
terrible the journey would be, resisted. When the
government brought the matter to the Supreme
Court, it ruled in favor of the Cherokee, saying
they could only begin an “Indian Removal Act” if
the Indians who they wanted to move signed a
new treaty, agreeing to the plan.
How It Began
Most of the Cherokee didn’t want to
move, and John Ross (a Cherokee leader)
thought they were safe. However, three
rebellious tribe members (led by John
Ridge) signed the proclamation. Ross and
his followers found out, and the signers
were killed. By that time, though, it was
too late. The “Indian Removal Act” was in
action, and no one could stop it.
The Trip
In 1838, General Winfield Scott and the
US Army came to move the Cherokee.
They would walk from their home, and the
home of their ancestors before them, all the
way to a reservation in Arkansas. Georgia
to Arkansas? That’s a long walk! The
Cherokee knew from the walks of others
that it was to be more than just long.
The Trip
Naturally, many Cherokee ran away,
unwilling to walk with their white enemies.
Some of those who tried to escape where
caught. Others made it to freedom. Those
who did not escape had to travel.
The Trip
First about 5,000 Cherokee went in boats.
It was summer and the hot sun killed many.
John Ross begged for a winter walk,
thinking it would be better.
The Trip
Unfortunately, winter was even worse
then summer. Snow fell and the wind
whistled. Who cared? They still had to
walk, so they did. They walked all day and
slept in the open all night.
The Trip
Many got sick on the long walk. If they couldn’t
keep up, they were left to die. The elders, with
their immense knowledge, were no longer fit for
such a walk. Who cared if they didn’t reach the
end? The soldiers didn’t. Sometimes the men in
army colors would even shoot a Cherokee who
was slowing them down. Almost all of the 17,000
Cherokee either walked or traveled by boat.
Roughly 4,000 died from horrible conditions,
illness, starvation, threats caused by nature, and
the soldiers, who didn’t care.
The Trail of Tears
This horrific event in America’s history, so
hidden among the perils and triumphs of our white
ancestors, is with us today. The trail that so many
thousands of feet walked over is still there, even if
we cannot see it, and there are still 4,000 bodies
buried by the side of that road. This long and
terrible walk was known by those who
experienced it as The Trail Where They Cried.
This terrible event is more commonly known as
The Trail Of Tears.
The Trail of Tears
The symbol of the trail is the Cherokee
Rose, now also the official state flower of
Georgia. This slide is here to remind us of a
painful mark in our history, which we
should never forget.