The Trail of Tears

In 1828, gold was discovered on Cherokee land in Georgia. As a result, white miners harassed the Cherokee. Cherokee elders went to court arguing that the land grant treaty with the Federal Government protected them from harm. However, in 1830, POTUS Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act requiring all Indians east of the Mississippi to exchange their lands for land west of the river. Many tribes were forcibly removed in chains including the Seminoles led by Chief Osceola and the Creeks. Many died from hunger and exposure.
In 1832, the Cherokee’s case reached SCOTUS and Chief Justice Marshall ruled in favor of the Cherokee. POTUS said, “Marshall made his decision, now let him enforce it.” In May 1838, without warning Federal troops rounded up Cherokee to make the 1200 mile journey to Indian Territory (modern day Oklahoma). The march began in hot summer, with little rain. Many Cherokee became sick from diseases that spread. The winter brought snow, ice and bitter cold. Out of 16,000 that started the journey approximately 2,000 to 4,000 died along the way.

Analyze this secondary source and respond to the Questions in the Student Handout Packet above.

The Trail of Tears
The Trail of Tears

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Dave Matthew’s explains his song, Don’t Drink the Water in MTV’s Storytellers, emphasizing the genocide of Native Americans. Use the music video and his explanation to respond to the questions/prompts on the lyrics handout.

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