This lesson is component of the national Park Service’s to teach with historical Places (TwHP) program.

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The caravan was all set to move out. The wagons to be lined up. The mood was somber. One that was over there reported that "there was a silence and stillness that the voice the betrayed the sore of the heart." Behind castle the makeshift camp where some had spent 3 months of a Tennessee summer was currently ablaze. There to be no walking back.A white-haired old man, Chief walking Snake, led the method on his pony, complied with by a group of young males on horseback. Simply as the wagons moved off follow me the small roadway, castle heard a sound. Although the day was bright, there to be a black thundercloud in the west. The thunder died away and the wagons ongoing their long journey westward toward the setup sun. Plenty of who heard the thunder assumed it to be an omen of an ext trouble to come.¹This is the story of the removal of the Cherokee country from its genealogical homeland in components of north Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and also Alabama come land collection aside for American indians in what is currently the state of Oklahoma. Part 100,000 American ind forcibly removed from what is currently the east United states to what was called Indian Territory had members that the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole tribes. The Cherokee"s trip by water and land was over a thousand mile long, throughout which plenty of Cherokees were to die. Tragically, the story in this great is also one of dispute within the Cherokee country as that struggled to organize on to its land and its society in the face of overwhelming force.The follow of Tears National historic Trail commemorates the removal of the Cherokee and the paths that 17 Cherokee detachments adhered to westward. It additionally promotes a greater awareness that the Trail"s legacy and also the effects of the united States" policy of American Indian remove not just on the Cherokee, but also on various other tribes, mainly the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole.¹ W. Shorey Coodey to man Howard Payne, n.d.; cited in john Ehle, Trail of Tears: The Rise and also Fall that the Cherokee Nation (New York: Doubleday, 1988), 351.

Who do you think could have lived here in the 1820s?

Setting the Stage

When English and also European immigrants arrived at the north American continent, they uncovered many civilization whose appearance, lifestyle, and also spiritual ideas differed native those they were acquainted with. During the course of the next two centuries, their interactions varied in between cooperation and also communication come conflict and warfare. The newcomers necessary land for settlement, and also they sought the by sale, treaty, or force.Between 1790 and 1830, people located eastern of the Mississippi River, including the Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, and Seminoles, signed plenty of treaties through the joined States. Presidents George Washington, man Adams, thomas Jefferson, and also James Madison struggled to discover a balance between the obligation of the new country to uphold its contract commitments and the desires of its new citizens for much more land. Ultimately, the federal government was do not want or can not to defend the ind from the insatiable requirements of the inhabitants for an ext land.The Louisiana Purchase added millions of less densely inhabited square mile west of the Mississippi flow to the joined States. Cutting board Jefferson argued that the eastern American Indians can be induced to relocate to the brand-new territory voluntarily, to live in tranquility without interference from whites. A spontaneous relocation setup was enacted into law in 1824 and also some Indians chose to move west.The 1828 choice of president Andrew Jackson, that made his name together an Indian fighter, marked a readjust in commonwealth policies. As part of his plans for the united States, that was figured out to eliminate the continuing to be tribes from the east and also relocate them in the west. Between the 1830 Indian removed Act and 1850, the U.S. Federal government used compelled treaties and/or U.S. Army activity to move about 100,000 American indians living east of the Mississippi River, from the west to Indian are in what is currently Oklahoma. Amongst the relocated tribes were the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and also Seminole. The Choctaw relocation began in 1830; the Chickasaw relocation remained in 1837; the Creek were gotten rid of by force in 1836 following negotiations that started in 1832; and also the Seminole removal triggered a 7-year battle that finished in 1843. These stories are not said in this lesson plan. The trails lock followed came to be known together the trail of Tears. The Cherokees were among the critical to go and it is the Cherokee"s story the is the topic of this lesson pan.


(Adapted indigenous Sam Bowers Hilliard, "Indian soil Cessions" , Map supplement 16, Annals of the combination of American Geographers, vol. 62, no. 2 .)Key:1. Seminole2. Creek3. Choctaw4. Chickasaw5. Cherokee6. Quapaw7. Osage8. Illinois ConfederationQuestions for Map 11. Even after ceding, or yielding, countless acres of their are through a succession of treaties through the British and also then the U.S. Government, the Cherokees in the 1820s still inhabited parts the the homelands they had lived in for thousands of years. What modern-day states are had within the limits of the Cherokee Nation? How large is the territory contrasted with the modern states?2. What various other tribes lived close to the Cherokees? Whites often referred to the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole as the "Five civilized Tribes." What carry out you think whites intended by "civilized?"


(National Park Service)This map mirrors the routes complied with west by the Cherokee country to with "Indian Territory," now the state that Oklahoma, in the 1830s.The pink trace is the north route. It to be a soil route and also the largest group of Cherokees followed this part of the trail. The blue follow is the water route. The red trails present the various other routes on the trail.

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Questions for Map 21. How many different courses are shown? Why execute you think there might have been so many?2. Uncover the water route. What rivers does that follow? What benefits to friend think it can have end an overland route? What challenges might that present?3. Find the north route. How does that compare v the other main routes? What significant rivers did it cross? What benefits and what disadvantages could the north route have?4. The largest team of Cherokees left Tennessee in the late autumn of 1838, adhered to the northern route, and also arrived in Indian region in March. What difficulties do you think they might have encountered top top the journey?

Determining the FactsReading 1: The Cherokee country in the 1820s

Cherokee culture thrived for thousands of years in the southeastern unified States prior to European contact. Once the Europeans inhabitants arrived, the ind they encountered, consisting of the Cherokee, assisted them through food and supplies. The Cherokees teach the early on settlers how to hunt, fish, and also farm in their brand-new environment. They introduced them to crops such together corn, squash, and potatoes; and taught them exactly how to use organic medicines because that illnesses.By the 1820s, plenty of Cherokees had embraced some the the cultural patterns the the white inhabitants as well. The inhabitants introduced new crops and also farming techniques. Some Cherokee ranches grew into small plantations, worked by afri slaves. Cherokees constructed gristmills, sawmills, and blacksmith shops. They encouraged missionaries to collection up institutions to educate their youngsters in the English language. They used a syllabary (characters representing syllables) emerged by Sequoyah (a Cherokee) come encourage literacy as well. In the midst of the many alters that followed contact with the Europeans, the Cherokee operated to retain their cultural identity operation "on a basis of harmony, consensus, and also community with a distaste for hierarchy and individual power."1In 1822, the treasurer the the American plank of Commissioners for foreign Missions reported on some of the transforms that had actually been made:

It provided to it is in said, a few years since, with the best of confidence, and also is periodically repeated even now, the "Indians have the right to never get the habit the labour." truth abundantly disprove this opinion. Some Indians not only administer an abundant supply the food for their families, through the work of their very own hands, however have a surplus of several hundred bushels of corn, through which they procure clothing, furniture, and foreign write-ups of luxury.2

Two leader played main roles in the destiny the the Cherokee. Both had fought along next Andrew Jackson in a war versus a faction of the Creek country which became known together the Creek war (1813-1814). Both had used what castle learned native the whites to end up being slave holders and rich men. Both were descended from Anglo-Americans who moved right into Indian territory to trade and ended increase marrying Indian women and having families. Both were fiercely cursed to the welfare the the Cherokee people.Major Ridge3 and John Ross shared a vision the a solid Cherokee nation that might maintain the separate culture and tho coexist v its white neighbors. In 1825, they functioned together to create a new national capitol for their tribe, at brand-new Echota in Georgia. In 1827, lock proposed a composed constitution the would put the people on an same footing through the white skin - man in terms of self government. The constitution, i beg your pardon was embraced by the Cherokee national Council, was modeled on that of the united States. Both men were powerful speakers and also well able come articulate your opposition come the constant pressure indigenous settlers and the federal government to relocate come the west. Ridge had first made a surname for self opposing a Cherokee proposal because that removal in 1807. In 1824 john Ross, on a delegation come Washington, D.C. Wrote:

We appeal to the magnanimity of the American Congress for justice, and also the defense of the rights, liberties, and also lives, the the Cherokee people. We case it indigenous the joined States, by the strongest obligations, i beg your pardon imposes that upon castle by treaties; and we suppose it indigenous them under the memorable declaration, "that all guys are produced equal."4

Not all tribal elders or defect members authorized of the ways in which many in the people had adopted white social practices and also they seek refuge native white interference by moving right into what is now northwestern Arkansas. In the 1820s, the number of Cherokees moving to Arkansas are increased. Others spoke out on the threats of Cherokee joining in Christian churches, and schools, and also predicted an end to timeless practices. They believed that these accommodations to white society would threaten the tribe"s host on the land.Even as major Ridge and John Ross were planning for the future of new Echota and also an educated, well-governed tribe, the state the Georgia raised its pressure on the federal government to relax Cherokee lands for white settlement. Some inhabitants did no wait because that approval. They merely moved in and also began surveying and claiming territory for themselves. A renowned song in Georgia in ~ the time consisted of this refrain:

All ns ask in this creationIs a pretty small wife and also a big plantationWay up yonder in the Cherokee Nation.5

Questions for reading 11. In what means did the Cherokees take on aspects the white culture? What did they perform to protect Cherokee culture?2. What did significant Ridge and John Ross have actually in common? What were your plans because that the Cherokee Nation? execute you think these alters would safeguard the tribe"s land? Why or why not?3. Why did some Cherokees oppose these changes? If you were a Cherokee, which group do friend think you would agree with? Why?4. Why execute you think man Ross, that was only one-eighth Cherokee and also who to be raised and also educated in the white community, can have figured out so strongly v his Indian heritage?5. Read John Ross"s letter to conference carefully. What is the tone and also what clues does the make? also though he to be a slave holder, the appeals come the native of the declaration of Independence. Execute you think this strengthens his argument? carry out you think it is an efficient appeal? Why or why not?

This reading is based upon Benjamin Levy, "John Ross House" (Walker County, Georgia), National historical Landmark documentation, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Room of the Interior, nationwide Park Service, 1973; Benjamin Levy,"Major Ridge House" (Floyd County, Georgia), National historical Landmark documentation, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of the Interior, nationwide Park Service, 1973; and John Ehle"s follow of Tears: The Rise and Fall the the Cherokee nation (New York: Doubleday, 1988).1 D. W. Meinig, The Shaping that America: A Geographical view on 500 years of History, Vol. 2, continent America, 1800-1867 (New Haven: Yale college Press, 1993), 88.2 man Ehle, follow of Tears: The Rise and Fall that the Cherokee country (New York: Doubleday, 1988), 177.3 Like numerous Cherokees, Ridge originally had actually only one name. That later adopted the title of Major, which that earned throughout the battle of 1812, as his first name.4 Gary E. Moulton, ed., files of Chief john Ross, (Norman, OK: college of Oklahoma Press, 1985), I:76-78; cited in Stanley W. Hoig, The Cherokees and Their Chiefs: In the wake of empire (Fayetteville, AR: university of Arkansas Press, 1998), 130.5 Samuel Carter, III Cherokee Sunset: A nation Betrayed (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1976), 72, cited in Ehle, trace of Tears, 213.