In 1838 and 1839, as part of Andrew Jackson’s Indian removal policy, the Cherokee nation was forced to give up its lands east of the Mississippi River and to migrate to an area in present-day Oklahoma. The Cherokee people called this journey the “Trail of Tears,” because of its devastating effects.
The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail commemorates the removal of the Cherokee and the paths that 17 Cherokee detachments followed westward.
Tribes in Oklahoma Before Removal By the early 1800s, the Osage, Pawnee, Kiowa, Comanche, Cheyenne, and Arapaho had also migrated into the region or visited to use resources. Some Delaware, Shawnee, Kickapoo, Chickasaw, and Choctaw regularly came to hunt Oklahoma’s abundant bison, beaver, deer, and bear.
In 1838, the U.S. government forced more than 16,000 Cherokee Indians from their homelands in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee, and marched them to what is now Oklahoma. The trip alone killed hundreds of Native Americans; thousands more died afterward.
Cherokee removal, part of the Trail of Tears, refers to the forced relocation between 1836 and 1839 of an estimated 16,000 members of the Cherokee Nation and 1,000-2,000 of their slaves; from their lands in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama to the Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma) in
The term “Trail of Tears” refers to the difficult journeys that the Five Tribes took during their forced removal from the southeast during the 1830s and 1840s. The Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole were all marched out of their ancestral lands to Indian Territory, or present Oklahoma.
Oklahoma is home to 39 tribal nations.
Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma. Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma. Quapaw Nation. Sac and Fox Nation. Seminole Nation.
The reason for this forced removal was to make westward expansion for Americans easier. Those who believed in Manifest Destiny felt that Native Americans were stopping them from moving westward. In the years leading up to the approval of the Indian Removal Act, Andrew Jackson was a main advocate for the cause.
The Cherokee people called this journey the “Trail of Tears,” because of its devastating effects. The migrants faced hunger, disease, and exhaustion on the forced march. Over 4,000 out of 15,000 of the Cherokees died. It commemorates the suffering of the Cherokee people under forced removal.
Today, the path of the Cherokee is memorialized by the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. The persecution of Native Americans didn’t end with the removal to Oklahoma. Much of the land they were promised by law in Oklahoma was soon taken from them. Around 17,000 Choctaw people were forced to march to Oklahoma.
General Winfield Scott sped the removal along as well as put many Indians into stockades along the way. The Trail of Tears found its end in Oklahoma. Nearly a fourth of the Cherokee population died along the march. <br />Upon reaching Oklahoma, two Cherokee nations, the eastern and western, were reunited.
In the Cherokee language, the event is called Nunna daul Tsuny — “the trail where they cried.” The Indian Removal Act was spawned by the rapidly expanding population of new settlers which created tensions with the American Indian tribes.
How did the Cherokee respond to the act? The Cherokee decided to take it to the courts and they ended up having a hearing at the Supreme Court. He was a justice in the Supreme Court. He was apart of the Indian Removal Act case and favored the Indians.