MAY 23, 1838


The Cherokee were the last Native American nation to be removed west of the Mississippi as part of the “Trail of Tears.” In 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act which authorized removing the “Five Civilized Tribes” from their ancestral lands. Previously removed were the Muscogee (Creek) (1834), Seminole (1832), Chickasaw (1837), and Choctaw (1831) Nations. The Cherokee successfully fought removal before U.S. Supreme Court in 1832. However, in 1835, a Federal delegation and a rogue tribal faction met at their capital in New Echota, Georgia, and negotiated the Treat of New Echota ceding all tribal land to the U.S. and setting a 2-year deadline for the tribe to move. Though a vast majority of the tribe objected to the Treaty, Congress ratified it in 1836. In the spring of 1838, U.S. troops charged through Cherokee towns & homesteads, seizing everyone they found. Many took only the clothes on their backs. Approximately 4,000 Cherokee died on the trek.

Julia Busiek, “Where They Cried,” National Parks Conservation Association, Fall 2015.  Retrieved 11/5/2021, Where They Cried · National Parks Conservation Association (
“May 23, 1838: The Trail of Tears Began,” This Day in History, Zinn Education Project.  Retrieved 11/5/2021, May 23, 1838: The Trail of Tears Began - Zinn Education Project (
Photo: Cculber007, 3/22/2006. The monument on New Echota Historic Site honored the Cherokees who died on the Trail of Tears. Public Domain.    

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