Monday, March 24, 2014

Cherokee Nation officials commemorate the 175th anniversary of the Trail of Tears

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Monday, March 24 marks the 175th year since the Cherokee Nation’s journey along the Trail of Tears. The final group of Cherokees arrived March 24, 1839, in Indian Territory, near present-day Tahlequah.
The first detachment of Cherokees was forcibly removed from their homelands in the southeast beginning in 1838.

After spending months in concentration camps (called stockades to make it sound better), with little shelter and food not fit for human consumption, they were divided up in detachments and sent west. They survived one of the coldest winters on record and at one point, according to the journal of Rev. Daniel S. Butrick, approximately 8000 were stranded by the ice on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. They were freezing and there was sickness and death everywhere. Despite this, as a nation, they endured and survived. They reached Indian Territory and rebuilt their nation in an untamed land and they thrived. While the Trail of Tears is a sad part of our history, it serves as an example of the strength of the Cherokees. They couldn't prevent the removal, but they could triumph over it. They did, so never forget. 

Out of the 15,000 Cherokee who endured the forced migration west after the Treaty of 1835, it is estimated that several thousand died along the way or in internment camps. The Cherokees call the removal "Nunna-da-ul-tsun-yi," which means “the place where they cried.” Today, it is known as the Trail of Tears.
President Andrew Jackson’s biographer, Robert Remini, wrote this of the experience for the Cherokee people:
“Men were seized in the fields; women were taken from their wheels and children from their play. As they turned for one last glimpse of their homes they frequently saw them in flames, set ablaze by the lawless rabble that followed the soldiers, scavenging what they could. These outlaws stole the cattle and other livestock and even desecrated graves in their search for silver pendants and other valuables.”

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