In the years 1838 and 1839 under the late president’s, Andrew Jackson’s Indian removal policy, my fellow Cherokee nation was obligated to surrender its lands on the east side of the Mississippi River and to migrate to an area in present day Oklahoma. As you may know by now my people named this gruesome not to mention absurd journey the “Trail of Tears,” due to its devastating repercussions. Cherokee faced hunger, disease, and exhaustion on the compulsory march. This set an adverse example for Native American populations to make room for white settlers. Over 4,000 out of 15,000 of my people died. Why you might ask; simply due to your nation’s so called “Manifest Destiny”. Your people used this insipid term to justify the United States’ westward expansion into our Cherokee lands such as Texas, Oregon, and California. The broadly held fundamental belief of your obnoxious nation was that Americans, the “chosen people,” had a divinely inspired mission to spread their fruits of their so called democracy to the less fortunate. In what way, shape, or form could my people have possibly benefited from the drastic ways of the Americans, sure we could have coexisted but your selfish nation was clouded with the thoughts of their divine sent mission. The United States had a divine mission to take the whole of North America, we undubtly know by now that by force if necessary, and thus make room for its own rapidly growing people. In so doing, your ancestors supposed that they would carry the blessings of democracy to “less favored peoples” who happened to reside in attractive lands close by. Now don’t get me wrong Mr. President, the actions your ancestors took long ago do not surprise in any way, I mean us native Americans were in fact the less favored people along with the Europeans but you would expect your nation to have carried out their destiny in a much more civilized manner rather than driving us off our own land at gunpoint with no effort to coexist.
The tears shed along the trails voyaged by the Cherokee, did not only belong to the Cherokee but other Native American tribes as well. The tribes had their differences and disputes but all did share a common enemy at the time, the uprising nation of the United States. The Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee Creek, and Seminole are at times cooperatively thought of as the Five Civilized Tribes. These Native American tribes were existing as self-governing nations in what is referred as the American Deep South. Long ago the procedure of cultural transformation was projected by George Washington and Henry Knox. This term meant the active practice whereby the living cultures of the world are changing and adapting to external or internal forces. In this case the external forces were the divine driven Americans fulfilling their destiny of westward expansion upon the internal forces being my fellow Native Americans. Well this concept began off as an idea and began to gain thrust, especially among us Cherokee and Choctaw by the passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. In 1831 the Choctaw were the first to be detached, and they set the example for all other removals. Preceding the Choctaw removal, the Seminole were vanquished in 1832, the Creek in 1834, then the Chickasaw in 1837, and finally the Cherokee in 1838.
In my native language, the event is called “Nunna daul Isunyi”, meaning “the Trail Where They Cried”. The involvement of my people in the Trail of Tears was caused by the enforcement of the Treaty of New Echota, this treaty was signed on January, 1836 in New Echota, Georgia. The treaty was signed by representatives of the United States government and representatives of a minority Cherokee political party. The treaty was amended and ratified in March 1836, founding the conditions under which the whole Cherokee Nation was anticipated to shift their position west to the Indian Territory. This treaty was an agreement signed under the necessities of the Indian Removal Act of 1830 which swapped Native American land in the east for lands located west of the Mississippi River, but was never acknowledged by the elected tribal leadership or a mainstream of the Cherokee people due to its unfairness and inequality that ultimately led to the Trail of Tears because my people did not want to step aside allowing Manifest Destiny to take its course. We wanted to be left alone and have nothing to do with the injustice being bestowed upon us. Our presence posted an obstacle to the white settlement, so your ancestors acted upon us the way they did.
Apprehension between Georgia and the Cherokee Nation were delivered to a predicament by the unearthing of gold by Dahlonega, Georgia, in 1829, resulting in the Georgia Gold Rush, the initial gold rush in US history. By the way Mr. President gold discovered on our land, meaning it was rightfully ours was then on mined and taken from us. When Georgia stimulated to expand state laws upon Cherokee tribal lands in 1830, the issue went to the U.S. Supreme Court. In Cherokee Nation v. Georgia in 1831, the Marshall court ruled that the Cherokees were not a monarch and independent nation, and therefore repudiated in the hearing of the case. Time after time the American’s proved to grow inhumane with their actions, and not respecting the natives of the West. My people were not even given the chance to speak their case, but forced into treaties by inlficted influnce. With the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the U.S. Congress had given your then president Jackson the authority to bargain removal treaties, exchanging Indian land in the East for land west of the Mississippi River. Mr. president, we were in fact offered deals and what not, but were they of any benefit to us? Of course not, your nation only had one thing in mind, themselves.
Jackson used the quarrel with Georgia to create anxiety on the Cherokees to sign a removal treaty. The treaty, passed by Congress by a single vote. The successor of President Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren allowed Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Alabama to form an armed force of 7,000 made up of militia, regular army, and volunteers under General Winfield Scott to gather together about 13,000 Cherokees into concentration camps at the U.S. Indian Agency near Cleveland, Tennessee prior to being sent to the West. A large amount of the deaths were caused by disease, starvation and cold in those brutal camps. My people’s homes were burned and property destroyed and stolen. Farms owned by the Cherokees for generations were up from grabs in lotteries. Now Mr. President, you tell me if not only my Cherokee people but as well as every Native American tribe involved in the audacity caused by Manifest Destiny, deserve an apology from the land of the free. I will answer this question for you, the Native American tribes affected by this, should without a doubt receive reparations and apologies for the consequences of Manifest Destiny.
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