Sunday, April 26, 2009

Documentary Of Cherokee's Trail Of Tears To Be Televised On Monday Night

By Ken Davison
Feather News

The third of five segments of the television documentary "We Shall Remain" will air Monday night at 9 p.m. on local PBS stations. The third segment will cover the Cherokee Tribe's Trail of Tears.

Thousands of Cherokee Indians were forced to leave their territory in in the Southeast United States in 1838 on a march to what would later be called Oklahoma in which more than 4,000 Cherokees died of starvation and disease. The route taken became known as "The Trail of Tears" or "The Trail Where They Cried."

In 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act. This led to various tribes leaving the Southeast for Indian Territory in the West. In 1831, the Choctaw were removed, then the Seminoles in 1832, followed by the Creek in 1834, the Chickasaw in 1837 and the Cherokee in 1838.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in an 1832 cae, Worcester v. Georgia, that the Cherokees were a sovereign nation and that the Cherokees could only be removed by a treaty between the United States and the Cherokee Nation. A minority of Cherokee tribal members (less than 500) under a Cherokee Chief, Major Ridge, agreed to the removal treaty in 1835, which ultimately resulted in their 1838 march westward to what is now Oklahoma.

The first two parts of the five-part "We Shall Remain" documentary were televised over the last two weeks. The first segment focused on the Wampanoag Indians of New England and last week's segment was on Tecumsah and his brother, two Shawnee Indians who convinced distinct tribes to band together in a confederacy to combat the white mans' westward expansion.