Western Life

THE TRAIL OF TEARS

The trail of tears alludes to the removal of the American residents from the communities based in the South Eastern regions of America, owing to the endorsement of the Indian Removal Act put forward in the year of 1830. Moreover, in 1838, complying with the Indian Removal act, the Cherokee community was bound to give up its land to the east of Mississippi River and move to a region now recognized as Oklahoma. This miserable migration was referred to as “The Trail of Tears” mainly due to the disastrous effects and sufferings of the Indian people. The migrants were faced with extreme challenges such as hunger, disease, exhaustion and massive sufferings on account of the forced migration in addition to the injustice and maltreatment of fundamental human rights.

Forceful Relocation of the Five Civilized Tribes

The Trail of Tears is proclaimed as one of the most tragic incidents and in U.S. history, mainly due to the ethnic attack on the Indians which forced them to migrate, ultimately resulting in the death of more than 5000 people.

The Cherokee were one of five civilized tribes in the South-eastern U.S. until the 1820s. The five civilized tribes consisted of Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Seminole and Chickasaw.  It is also known as the advent of the Indian eradication by the United States government although the Indians had lived in the country centuries before white people settled in America. After the American Revolution the Indians were recognized as a separate group in a sovereign country. They were committed towards living peacefully and coexisting in harmony with the white settlers. On the other hand, the white settlers were heavily interested in the productive land resources salvaged from the Indians. Consequently the U.S. government set about a long campaign marked by deceptive treaties and threats of military force and racism to overthrow the Indians from their native territory.

Sufferings of The Indians

The story of the Trail of Tears is both awful and gloomy. Men, women and children were forced from their home to walk over 1000 miles barefooted with inadequate clothing in the freezing cold weather. It took almost six months to travel the Trail of Tears which resulted in various fatal diseases and infections without any medical aid and equipment.

The type of transport varied considerably among the wealthy members of the tribes. Wagons had not enough space for everyone to sit and many of the horses died on the journey so the majority were forced to walk the journey.

The Final Rolls of the Five Civilized Tribes.

In 1893, President Grover Cleveland appointed a commission, chaired by Senator Henry L. Dawes to negotiate land with the tribes. The conclusion of the commission was what is called, “The Dawes Rolls” or “The Final Rolls” of the Five Civilized Tribes, entitled an allocation of land to the tribe members in return for exterminating their governments and recognizing Federal Laws.

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