The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail commemorates the removal of the Cherokee and the paths that 17 Cherokee detachments followed westward.
Trail of Tears, in U.S. history, the forced relocation during the 1830s of Eastern Woodlands Indians of the Southeast region of the United States (including Cherokee, Creek, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole, among other nations) to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River.
The description “Trail of Tears” is thought to have originated with the Choctaw, the first of the major Southeast tribes to be relocated, starting in 1830. But it is most popularly connected with the October 1838 to March 1839 journey organized by the Cherokee Nation.
With the first wave in 1831, Choctaws were the first tribe to cover the Trail of Tears, so named because of the suffering and loss of life on the march.
From the 1830s to the 1840s, the Five Tribes were forcibly removed from their homelands and made to travel to Indian Territory. The Five Tribes include the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole.
In October 1860, George Hudson was elected Chief of the Choctaws and served until October 1862. After his attempt and failure to succeed himself as Chief he retired to his home on Mountain Fork River.
At New Echota, Georgia, the pro-treaty faction of the Cherokee signed away Cherokee lands in Appalachia and began the removal process.
The Indian Removal Act was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson on May 28, 1830, authorizing the president to grant lands west of the Mississippi in exchange for Indian lands within existing state borders.
The Choctaws, Mississippi’s largest Indian group, were the first southeastern Indians to accept removal with the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in September 1830. The treaty provided that the Choctaws would receive land west of the Mississippi River in exchange for the remaining Choctaw lands in Mississippi.
Choctaw, North American Indian tribe of Muskogean linguistic stock that traditionally lived in what is now southeastern Mississippi. The Choctaw dialect is very similar to that of the Chickasaw, and there is evidence that they are a branch of the latter tribe.
Choctaw and Cherokee Native American tribes both inhabited the Southeastern part of the United States, but they are not the same tribe.
During this removal, more than 300 Cherokee hid in the mountains and escaped arrest. Over a period of years, these Cherokee managed to remain in the area, and eventually were recognized by the U.S. government as the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians in 1868. Those who remained in Oklahoma became the Cherokee Nation.
Greenfield Lake, Wilmington, NC 1950The Cherokee, members of the Iroquoian language group, are descended from the native peoples who occupied the southern Appalachian Mountains beginning in approximately 8000 b.c. By 1500 b.c., a distinct Cherokee language had developed, and by 1000 a.d.
Originally published as “The State and Its Tribes”