Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 21

COURTESY NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

settlers and Native Americans was encouraged;
many intermarried, and missionaries came in to
convert the Cherokee to Christianity. Soon the
Cherokee lifestyle and culture had evolved from
a nation of hunters to a blended population of
farmers and traders that developed its own
constitution, created a Supreme Court and
formed schools, clinics and hospitals to care for
its people.
By 1825, the Cherokee National Legislature
had established its seat of government at New
Echota on the Oostanaula River in North Georgia. Just three years later, gold was discovered in
As settlers moved onto Native American lands, the Cherokee adapted their
North Georgia on Cherokee land. The state
lifestyle from hunting to farming.
passed laws that banned the Cherokee from
digging for gold, and white settlers were prohibited from living among them. Subsequent land lotteries
Cherokee," Harris says. "This was the systematic removal
awarded Cherokee lands to the influx of settlers and
of a sovereign nation, with its own constitution, Supreme
fortune-seekers.
Court, schools and government. And we commemorate
Various legal battles, including two heard by the U.S. the Trail of Tears to remember and to prevent it from
Supreme Court, found in favor of the Cherokee, but in
happening again."
1830 the federal government pressed for forced removal
of the Cherokee people through the Indian Removal Act.
Several contingents of Cherokees willingly moved west,
but the Cherokee Nation was split between those who
felt that relocation was their best chance at retaining
Fifty years ago, the U.S. Congress created the
their identity and government and those who did not
National Trails Division of the National Park Service to
want to relinquish their homeland.
formalize the country's historic and geographic trails. The
With the signing of the Treaty of New Echota in
Trail of Tears was recognized as a National Historic Trail
1835, the Cherokee Nation was required to exchange
in 1987.
its national lands for 160,000 acres of land in what is
The Trail of Tears Association was formed in 1993
now Oklahoma, and within three years the U.S. governand subsequently created nine statewide associations to
ment began a forced removal of the remaining 17,000
identify historically significant sites along the trail. Many
Cherokees.
of these sites are in Georgia, including parts of the route
Thus began the Trail of Tears, an 800-mile journey
that pass through present-day Chickamauga and the
on foot, by boat, on horseback and in wagons for men,
Chattanooga National Military Park, the Chieftains
women and children of the Cherokee Nation, along with Museum in Rome, the New Echota State Historic Site in
members of other Native American tribes.
Calhoun and the Chief Vann House in Chatsworth.
"This was not a rounding up of miscellaneous
"To me, the Trail of Tears started at each family's
doorstep," says David Gomez, superintendent at the New
Echota State Historic Site and the Chief Vann House.
New Echota has 12 structures representative of those in
the original Cherokee town, and the Chief Vann House is
a well-preserved example of a plantation home owned
by the Cherokee.
"The interpretive center at New Echota has a 17-minute film about the Cherokee, plus we have a mobile app
that takes visitors on a walking tour through the 200-acre
site," Gomez says.
"There are a lot of misconceptions about the
Cherokee in the 19th century," says Heather Shore,
executive director of the Chieftains Museum and Major
Ridge Home, which is part of the Georgia Department of
Natural Resources State Parks and Historic Sites. "What
This reconstruction of the Cherokee Nation's Supreme Court champeople know from movies and television is not the way
ber can be seen at the New Echota Historic Site, which was part of
they lived, and when people visit here they can see for
the Cherokee national capital before the Trail of Tears.
themselves and learn about the history."

COURTESY GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

The Trail of Tears and the Cherokee
Nation today

January 2018

More online at www.georgiamagazine.org

21


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - January 2018

Contents
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 3
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 5
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 6
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 7
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 8
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 9
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 10
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 11
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 12
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 13
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 14
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 15
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 16
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 17
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 18
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 19
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 20
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 21
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 22
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 23
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 24
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 25
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 26
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 26A
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 26B
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 26C
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 26D
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 27
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 28
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 29
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 30
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 31
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 32
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 33
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 34
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 35
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 36
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 37
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 38
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 38A
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 38B
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 39
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 40
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 41
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 42
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 43
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 44
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 45
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 46
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 47
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 48
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 48A
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 48B
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 49
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 50
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 50A
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - 50B
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - January 2018 - Cover4
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