In May , Federal troops and state militias began the roundup of the Cherokees into stockades. In spite of warnings to troops to treat the Cherokees kindly, the roundup proved harrowing. Families were separated-the elderly and ill forced out at gunpoint - people given only moments to collect cherished possessions. White looters followed, ransacking homesteads as Cherokees were led away. Three groups left in the summer, traveling from present-day Chattanooga by rail, boat, and wagon, primarily on the Water Route.
But river levels were too low for navigation; one group, traveling overland in Arkansas, suffered three to five deaths each day due to illness and drought.
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Fifteen thousand captives still awaited removal. Crowding, poor sanitation, and drought made them miserable. Many died. The Cherokees asked to postpone removal until the fall, and to voluntarily remove themselves. The delay was granted, provided they remain in internment camps until travel resumed.
By November, 12 groups of 1, each were trudging miles overland to the west. The last party, including Chief Ross, went by water. Now, heavy autumn rains and hundreds of wagons on the muddy route made roads impassable; little grazing and game could be found to supplement meager rations. Two-thirds of the ill-equipped Cherokees were trapped between the ice-bound Ohio and Mississippi Rivers during January.
As one survivor recalled, " Long time we travel on way to new land. People feel bad when they leave Old Nation. Womens cry and make sad wails. Children cry and many men cry Many days pass and people die very much. Some drank stagnant water and succumbed to disease. One survivor told how his father got sick and died; then, his mother; then, one by one, his five brothers and sisters.
Trail of Tears
Then all are gone. By March , all survivors had arrived in the west. No one knows how many died throughout the ordeal, but the trip was especially hard on infants, children, and the elderly. Missionary doctor Elizur Butler, who accompanied the Cherokees, estimated that over 4, died-nearly a fifth of the Cherokee population. Tahlequah, Oklahoma was its capital. It remains tribal headquarters for the Cherokee Nation today. About 1, Cherokees in Tennessee and North Carolina escaped the roundup.
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They gained recognition in , establishing their tribal government in in Cherokee, North Carolina. Today, they are known as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Explore This Park.
Maps - Trail Of Tears National Historic Trail (U.S. National Park Service)
Info Alerts Maps Calendar. Alerts In Effect Dismiss. What happened on the Trail of Tears? While the white people thought this idea was just great, the Indians thought otherwise. We will never let our hold to this land go… to let it go would be like throwing away our mother that gave us birth.
Keelboats, and steamers to Cherokee Land and forcefully moved 16, Cherokee from their homes to make shift forts until they could be moved to their reservation in Oklahoma. The Cherokee Removal Forts are not as well known in the aspect of the Trail of Tears, They are overshadowed by the long journey itself. Over fifteen of the of these forts were located in Georgia alone.
The camps were filled with human waste and many women and children were raped. Approximately one third of the deaths attributed to the trail of tears are a result of these forts. Many of these diseased camps have been lost to our history books. Before the journey was over 4, innocent men, women, and children were stolen from the Cherokee existence.
Will Thomas, an adopted Cherokee, purchased 56, acres of land, which eventually became known as the Qualla Boundary where the Eastern band of Cherokees now reside peacefully. A startling story captured my heart as I was searching through my information and I would like to share it with you.
Trail of Tears
It is called The Cherokee Rose. When the Trail of Tears started in , the mothers of the Cherokee tribes were grieving so much that they were unable to help their children survive the journey. The rose is white for the tears that were shed, it has a gold center that shows the gold stolen form the Cherokee, and seven leaves that represent the seven Cherokee clans. Can a tree that is torn from its root by the fountain The pride of the valley; green spreading and fair Can it flourish, removed to the rock of the mountain Unwarmed by the sun and unwatered by care?
Though vesper be kind, her sweet dews in bestowing No life giving Brook in its shadows is flowing And when the chill winds of the desert are blowing So droops the transplanted and lone Cherokee. As flies the fleet deer when the bloodhound has started So fled the winged hope from the poor broken hearted Oh, could she have turned ere forever departing And beckons with smiles to her sad Cherokee. Is it the low wind through the wet willows rushing That fills with wild numbers my listening ear?