It passes through Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and the upper Tennessee River.
Trail of Tears in Alabama commemorates the Removal of Southern tribes. In the silence of the Trail, you can hear the screams of victims of brutality. Read on to find out more.
1. Trail of Tears in Alabama: The History
A long time ago, in the once scenic valley of Southeast United States lived the people of the Cherokee tribe. At the beginning of the 1930s, 125,000 Native Americans lived on millions of acres of land in Southeast USA.
After some years, their population reduced drastically. So what caused this terrible situation? And what caused the emergence of the Trail of Tears Alabama national historic trail?
When white settlers came to Indian territory, they viewed Native Americans as uncivilized people.
Cherokee people were living peacefully within their territory.
They had their constitution, courthouses, a bilingual national newspaper, and press; they built their own Post offices and their offices and residential places.
They even made their capital called ‘New Echota, Georgia.‘ Sequoyah, a Cherokee man, created a written form of the Cherokee language.
In 1838, 6,000 federal and state militia troops entered the country of Southern tribes and occupied Fort Payne. Soldiers captured them, marched them from their homes, and forced them into prison camps.
Around 16,000 people were taken captive.
2. Why Were the Native Americans Forced to Leave Their Homeland?
After the US signed treaties with the Cherokees, everything flourished, but things took a high toll in 1829.
In 1829, Andrew Jackson was elected as US President; he believed Native Americans to be dangerous and thought that a superior race formed them and must disappear.
He decided and started planning to seize their land. In the meantime, gold was discovered in Georgia, so the Indians were forced to leave their homeland to seize their resources and land.
“You have bought a fair land, but you will find its settlement dark and bloody.”
3. What Was the Indian Removal Act of 1830?
Indian Removal Act forced the Removal of all 5 southern tribes-
Most of the citizens of the United States were against the bill; they even signed hundreds of petitions against it. In the end, the Cherokees lost all the political and judicial battles.
Unfortunately, the bill passed with just 5 votes.
They tied the natives in chains, moved them to gunpoint, and walked more than 1,000 miles through the Trail of Tears in Alabama.
4. Andrew Jackson Stated Some Benefits of the Act
- The fights between the United States government and the federal would be solved.
- Cherokees won’t be comfortable in the new United States.
5. Why Was the Indian Removal Act Wrong?
The act was not only morally wrong but constitutionally wrong as well because:
5.1. Treaties were Refused
President Jackson refused to enforce treaties and did not give land rights to Indians.
5.2. The Georgia legislature
The Georgia legislature tried to take the land from them and give it to Georgian citizens. The Georgian government passed many laws.
CJ Marshall said that the community people were living within their boundaries. No Georgia law could interfere in this as it was legal, but Anthony Jackson refused to execute the decision.
5.3. Deception of Lottery
Georgia citizens held a lottery, where the winner was supposed to get Cherokee land. The winners asked them to leave their homes, and when they were denied, they were forcibly removed.
5.4. Treaty of New Echota
When the violence grew, a small group of Cherokees thought that the only way to be safe from the upcoming situation was to sign a Treaty of New Echota (1835).
They did it to save the nation, but little did they know that it would prove to be disastrous for them. They finally had to leave the nation due to a lack of support.
Principal Chief John Ross tried hard to fight this, but the day he went to show the signs to The Senate was an off day, and he never got to show the petition.
5.5. Cherokees Were Arrested
Georgia guards arrested Cherokees who dared to mine gold in their lands.
Cherokees are the largest tribe in the United States, and they now have free health care, scholarships, and more. The government can’t right the previous wrongs but surely is working on providing them with a good future.
Travelers can visit the present-day Trail of Tears in Alabama. Due to its length, it isn’t easy to complete, so plan your trip accordingly.