The Trail of Tears
and the Forced Relocation of the Cherokee Nation--
By looking at The Trail of Tears and the Forced Relocation of the Cherokee Nation, students learn about one of the many stories associated with the removal of American Indians from their homelands by the United States Government. To learn more about the Trail of Tears and its associated tribes that are still active communities today, the Internet offers a variety of resources.
Historic Places of America’s Diverse Culture
The National Register of Historic Places online itinerary Places Reflecting America’s Diverse Cultures highlights the historic places and stories of America’s diverse cultural heritage. This itinerary seeks to share the contributions various peoples have made in creating American culture and history.
The Trail of Tears
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail
In 1987, Congress established the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, which is administered by the National Park Service, in partnership with other federal agencies, state and local agencies, non-profit organizations, and private landowners. The web page contains maps and other useful information. Also included on the website is a page that links to the tribal partner websites for those tribes associated with the Trail of Tears--the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole.
Trail of Tears Association
The Trail of Tears Association (TOTA) is a non-profit, membership organization formed to support the creation, development, and interpretation of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. The Association entered into a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service to promote and engage in the protection and preservation of Trail of Tears National Historic Trail resources; to promote awareness of the Trail's legacy, including the effects of the U.S. Government's Indian Removal Policy on the Cherokees and other tribes (primarily the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee Creek, and Seminole); and to perpetuate the management and development techniques that are consistent with the National Park Service's trail plan. For more information on certified trail sites, and maps and the history of the trail, please visit their website.
The Cherokee Nation
The official web page of the Cherokee Nation offers primary documents such as the text of a dozen treaties, interviews, published recollections from historic newspapers, council meeting notes from 1829, as well as a summary history of the Cherokees from prehistory to 2001.
New Echota State Historic Site
New Echota State Historic Site is located in northern Georgia, near the town of Calhoun. The park includes the site of the original Cherokee national capitol. It contains several original and reconstructed buildings, including the Supreme Court, the Council House, the restored 1828 home of missionary Samuel A. Worcester, Vann's Tavern, and a Cherokee homestead. For more information, visit the park web page.
Chief Vann House Historic Site
Also associated with the National Park Service's Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, Chief Vann House Historic Site is a well-preserved Cherokee plantation home built by James Vann in 1804.
Cherokee Heritage Center
Following the removal, the Cherokee reestablished their national capitol at Tahlequah in eastern Oklahoma. There are many historic resources there relating to the Trail of Tears and the history of the Cherokee Nation. The Cherokee Heritage Center is operated by the non-profit Cherokee National Historical Society. The complex is made up of the Cherokee National Museum, with an exhibit on the Trail of Tears, a reconstructed 17th century village community, and a reconstructed late-19th-century Cherokee crossroads community. For more information, visit their web page.
Laws and Treaties
Library of Congress: Indian Land Cessions in the U.S., 1784-1894
This compilation of treaties with Indian tribes can be browsed by date, tribe, or state/territory. There is a chronological chart of treaties from 1784 to 1894. Land in question is cross-referenced with 67 maps so you can see the parcel(s) included in each treaty. It provides the treaty or Act of Congress Date, where or how concluded, the legal reference, the tribe, a description of the cession or reservation, whether the treaty was ratified, and historical data and remarks. However, it does not contain the actual text of the treaties.
Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties
Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, a historically significant, seven volume compilation containing U.S. treaties, laws and executive orders pertaining to Native American Indian tribes. The volumes cover U.S. Government treaties with Native Americans from 1778-1883 (Volume II) and U.S. laws and executive orders concerning Native Americans from 1871-1970 (Volumes I, III-VII). This reference does contain the actual text of the treaties.
Southeastern Native American Documents Collection, 1730-1842
The Digital Library of Georgia is a University System of Georgia initiative. Scroll down to the Southeastern Native American Documents Collection which contains primary documents relating to the Cherokee Removal, including the full text of the Treaty of New Echota. It also includes brief biographies of some of the most important Cherokee leaders.
The Tribal Preservation Program
This National Park Service program works with Indian Tribes, Alaska Native Groups, and Native Hawaiians to preserve and protect resources and traditions that are of importance to Native Americans. Its main purpose is to help Indian tribes strengthen their own community preservation programs. For more information, visit the program web page.
Smithsonian's National Museum of American Indians
The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) was chartered by Congress in 1989 as the 16th museum of the Smithsonian Institution. The NMAI is the only national museum dedicated to the Native peoples of North, South, and Central America. Our educational mission is to preserve, present, and celebrate the Native cultures of the Americas. The NMAI has one of the largest and most extensive collection of Native American art and artifacts in the world—approximately 800,000 objects representing over 10,000 years of history, from more than 1,000 indigenous cultures through the Western Hemisphere.
Students interested in learning more may want to read John Ehle's Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation (New York: Doubleday, 1988), a carefully documented history that reads like a novel. Ehle is sympathetic to Major Ridge and the Treaty Party.