The Topic:
Trail of Tears

Easier - The "Trail of Tears" was a forced removal of at least twenty thousand Cherokee Indians. The exact number of Cherokees is not known. In 1838, the US government moved them from their homelands in the mountain valleys of Appalachian Georgia and the Carolinas to western Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma. Cherokee call this trail Nunna-da-ul-tsun-yi, meaning "The Place Where They Cried." Traveling through bad weather and without proper clothing, at least 4,000 Cherokee died on the trail.
Harder - At the beginning of the Nineteenth century, the Cherokee Nation occupied and held land titles in the Appalachian valleys of Georgia and the Carolinas. At the same time, white immigrant communities were encroaching and voicing increasing resentment of the Cherokee property holds. Pressure increased when a gold strike occurred in northern Georgia. Many whites decided that it was time for the Indians to leave their farms, homes, and lands. In 1817, a Cherokee group called "Old Settlers" moved to western lands given them in Arkansas. There they reestablished their native government and a peaceful way of life. However, this Old Settler group was later moved on to Indian Territory (Oklahoma).
In 1802, Thomas Jefferson indicated his support for removal of Indians to western territories. Following President James Monroe's recommendation in his final address to Congress, President Andrew Jackson signed the 1830 Indian Removal Act. Opposition protests came from Senators Daniel Webster and Henry Clay and others. Reverend Samuel Worcester, a missionary to the Cherokees, challenged in court Georgia's attempt to abolish Indian claims to land titles. The Worcester vs. Georgia (1832) case went to the Supreme Court and argued the constitutionality of the Removal Act. Worcester won this court battle and Cherokee's rights of land ownership were upheld; however, Jackson and the US Government continued efforts for their removal.
In 1835 the Treaty of New Echota was signed by a "Treaty Party" of about 100 Cherokees. In this agreement, Cherokees gave up all claim to lands east of the Mississippi River in exchange for land in the Indian Territory and the future promise of money, livestock, tools, and other provisional support. This treaty signing and the subsequent removal led to bitter factionalism within the Cherokee Nation and the eventual deaths of many of the Treaty Party leaders. Regardless of the opposition and disagreements of the Cherokee, Georgia and the US Government's viewpoint prevailed and the New Echota treaty was used to justify their removal. In the summer of 1838, the US Army began enforcement of the Removal Act. Cherokees were rounded up and temporarily held in stockades. 3,000 Cherokees were loaded onto boats to travel the Tennessee, Ohio, Mississippi Rivers, and on to the Arkansas into Indian Territory. Over 14,000 other Cherokee remained in the prison camps until the winter of 1838-39. Then they were marched 1,200 miles through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas to their new home. The Cherokee endured torrential rains and other inclement weather conditions, inadequate food and water, and lacked proper clothing. It is estimated that at least 4,000 died of starvation, exposure, and disease.
Brief History of The Trail of Tears from Cherokee Messenger
This site provides a summary of the history of the "Trail of Tears."
Related Websites:
2) Americans Push West - The Trail of Tears
3) Choctaw Trail of Tears by C. Watson
4) Indian Removal 1814 - 1858 from PBS
5) John G. Burnett’s Story of the Removal of the Cherokees from Cherokee Messenger
6) Quotations from The Trail Where They Cried
7) Samuel's Memory from History of the Cherokee
8) Trail of Tears
9) Trail of Tears from PBS's The West
10) Trail of Tears by J. Hickinbotham (Rabid Wolf), member of the Choctaw Nation of
11) Trail of Tears
12) Trail of Tears from History of Southern Illinois
13) Trail of Tears from Study World
14) Trail Where They Cried
Cherokee Trail of Tears: 1838-1839 by D. Farrow
This comprehensive website contains varied informaton on the "Trail of Tears."
Trail of Tears from North Georgia
Here you find a summary of events in Georgia that led up to the 1838 removal of the Cherokee.
Related Websites:
2) Chieftains Trail... from The Blue Ridge Highlander
3) Trail of Tears by R. Golden from Our Georgia History
Brief History of the Trail of Tears from Cherokee Nation
This site provides a historical summary of the removal of the Cherokee people.
Other Related Sites at Cherokee Nation:
2) John Burnett's Story of the Trail of Tears
3) Legend of the Cherokee Rose
4) Legend of the Corn Bead
5) Letter to the Cherokee from Major General Scott
6) Memorial of the Cherokee
7) Ralph Waldo Emerson's Letter. . .
8) Removal Act of 1830
9) Treaty of New Echota
After visiting several of the websites, complete one or more of the following activities.
Plan An Auto Trip Along the Trail of Tears Route. Plan the complete trip including time needed, activities, planned stops, meals, lodging, and other expenses. Detail your travel plans in a spreadsheet presentation. Include visuals where appropriate. You might find some helpful information at Trail Of Tears National Historic Trail from National Park Service and Driving the Trail of Tears: Cherokee in Exile by T.V. Ress at GORP.
Prepare Indian Frybread. Follow the procedures found at Frybread from Shadow Wolf to prepare this staple of Powwows and symbol of intertribal Indian unity.
Complete A Trail of Tears WebQuest. Adapt or follow the procedures found at the following webQuest site:
Trail of Tears (Grade 8) by L. Lowry and K. Kennedy
Create a Trail of Tears Travel Brochure. You have been hired by a tourism organization to prepare a new travel brochure that promotes retracing the route of the Trail of Tears. Decide what major travel attractions and historical locations should be featured. Create a mockup of the travel brochure.
Create A Trail of Tears Journal. Imagine what it would be like to have your family uprooted, removed from your southestern farm, placed in a stockade, and then forced to travel 800 miles to Oklahoma Territory. The climate and lands were very different. How would you live there? Create a journal describing your feelings and experiences.
Write A Trail of Tears Poem. You can find a lot of online information about writing poetry at Poetry for Kids from eduScapes 42eXplore.
Websites By Kids For Kids
After the Trail of Tears: The Cherokee in Oklahoma 1838-1870 by S.A. Tuddenham from
The Concord Review
This paper was written for a high school history class in 1996-97.
Trail of Tears from Father Ryan High School
This project was created by high school students in 2001-02.
More Websites
Accounts of the "Cherokee Trail of Tears" with Reference to "Princess Otahki" by E.
Mulligan, published by St. Louis Post-Dispatch
This website features an interview, conducted at a dedication ceremony, of a monument to one of those lost on the "Trail Of Tears."
Cherokee Images 1800-1838 from History of the Cherokee
This site houses a collection of portraits, sites, and a painting connected to the "Trail of Tears."
Other Image Sites:
2) Trail of Tears (Includes map)
3) Trail of Tears (Maps & painting)
Gen. Winfield Scott's Address to the Cherokee Nation (May 10, 1838)
From the Cherokee Agency, Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott delivered an ultimatum to the Cherokees remaining in northern Georgia -- they had to go west, and they had to go now.
Other Related Documents:
2) Cherokee Indian Removal Debate: U.S. Senate, April 15-17, 1830
3) Cherokee Nation v. Georgia 1831
4) Gen. Winfield Scott's Order to U.S. Troops Assigned to the Cherokee Removal
5) Letter from Chief John Ross, "To the Senate and House of Representatives"
6) Trail of Tears Poster
7) Treaty of New Echota December 29, 1835
8) U.S.-Cherokee Treaties Related to Georgia
9) Worcester v. Georgia (1832)
Trail of Tears Association: North Carolina Chapter
In the spring and summer of 1838, more than 15,000 Cherokee Indians were removed by the U.S. Army from their ancestral homeland in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. In 1987, Congress passed Public Law 100-192, designating two of the routes taken by the Cherokee people in their removal as a National Historic Trail within the National Trails System. The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail is administered by the National Park Service.
Trail of Tears: Lawrence County Arkansas
This site contains a few articles on the "Trail of Tears."
Websites For Teachers
Cherokee Nation and the Trail of Tears (Grades 7-8) by D. Scott & M. Low, Cherokee Cultural Society, and T. Driskell from ThinkQuest
Students learn about the Cherokee Indians, a major tribe of Southwest America and one of the so-called, "five civilized tribes". They study why these Native Americans were forced to leave the land of their forefathers and march what is known as the "Trail of Tears".
Indian Removal Act (Grades 9-12) from The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
Students act as journalists reporting on the Indian Removal Act. They visit designated web sites and write factual articles about the developments.
Journal of Jesse Smoke by R.F. Abrahamson from Scholastic
This disscussion guide is for a book written by Joseph Bruchac. The Journal of Jesse Smoke: A Cherokee Boy tells the tragic story of what it was like to be part of the Cherokee Removal a plan by the United States government to forcibly move Native Americans from their homes in the eastern US west to Missouri and Oklahoma.
Prelude to the Trail of Tears: Worcester v. Georgia from SSEC Publications
The momentum of the westward movement and the popular support for Indian resettlement pitted white against Indian, states’ rights against the federal government, and the Supreme Court against the administration of President Andrew Jackson. These issues came together in the Worcester case, which affirmed the sovereignty of the Cherokee nation but was not enforced.
Trail of Tears (Grades 6-9) from Power to Learn,2013,70,00.html
Students create interview questions for President Andrew Jackson to find out what his plans were for the removal of the Cherokee Indians, which eventually led to the "Trail of Tears."
Trail of Tears by M. Goodston from Teachers.Net
This lesson has students read and analyze a poem about the "Trail of Tears" then suggests that they try writing a poem themselves.
Trail of Tears by K. Cline (Grades 6-8) from Lesson Plans Page
Here are several good ideas for a unit on the "Trail of Tears."
Similar Website:
2) How the West was Lost: The Trail of Tears from Discovery Communications, Inc.
Trail on Which They Wept (Grade 5) from Montgomery County Public Schools
This lesson unit incorporates the reading of The Trail on Which They Wept, The Story of a Cherokee Girl by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler with pictures by S. S. Burrus (Silver Burdett Press, Morristown, NJ, 1992).
Trail of Tears
passive resistance
Indiana Removal Act 1830
Mississippi River
Native American
President Andrew Jackson
representational government
John Ross
"eastern immigrant"
General Winfield Scott
"old settlers"
court battle
President Martin Van Buren
Indian Territory
mountain valleys
federal troops
Treaty of New Echota
torrential rain
Cherokee Nation
Ani'-Yun' wiya
ice storm
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 10/02.