National Trail of Tears Commemoration Day, on September 16, is a day that is as tragic as it sounds. It marks an atrocious event in history where Cherokees and other Native Americans were forced out of their homes and sent to live in a region assigned by the government. During this journey, conducted on foot, many people died in a ghastly manner, remembered by their predecessors until today. Hence, the day makes it impossible for us to forget all the people who suffered during that dark time in American history.
History of National Trail of Tears Commemoration Day
National Trail of Tears Commemoration Day marks the bloodshed faced by the Native Americans forced to leave their land. It all started with the Indian Removal Act, which President Andrew Jackson made legal on May 28, 1830. The act aimed to give the president the power to exchange Indian lands with some lands west of Mississippi. While some tribes tired of fighting decided to leave in peace, others resisted. They did not want to leave their homes to settle in a new place.
The resistance led to negotiations that became a formula for a disaster, much because the government had no success in making a deal with the Cherokee tribe. Instead, Major Ridge, John Ridge, Elias Boudinot, and Andrew Ross spoke on behalf of the tribe and authorized a forceful move.
By 1836, the State of Georgia had limited the rights of Cherokee, providing them with few resources to lead a peaceful life. In 1837, the move to push out the tribe started, leading to bloodshed. Since the government forced them out in a rush, they did not have time to prepare for the journey. 18,000 Cherokees and many thousands of other Native Americans walked towards their death as they died of hunger and exhaustion. Children, men, and women were also kept in concentration camps with inhumane living conditions. Many passed away due to diseases, and it is said that no elder over 60 and no child under six survived. The “Trail of Tears Walk” aims to memorialize that horrific tragedy.
National Trail of Tears Commemoration Day timeline
The Five Civilized Tribes begin to live in the South of America.
46,000 Indians from the southeastern states are removed from their homes.
General Winfield Scott begins to remove Cherokee.
The Cherokee nation commemorates 175 years since the Trail of Tears.
National Trail of Tears Commemoration Day FAQs
Is there a holiday for the Trail of Tears?
Yes. It is considered a Cherokee National Holiday.
How long was the Trail of Tears in days?
The journey was of 25 days.
What was the cause of the Trail of Tears?
Lack of preparation by the U.S government was the cause behind the tragedy.
How to Observe National Trail of Tears Commemoration Day
Visit a museum
To observe the day, visit a museum to understand the exact details of the day, the decision that led to the death of the Native Americans, as well as the aftermath. It is important to remember the history of your homeland.
Enrich people with the history of the day
On this day, you can either give a lecture at a school if you are well-versed with the history of the U.S., or hold an online seminar. The motive is to educate people regarding the tragic event.
Write a poem for those who died
The events that took place will always be remembered by those who lost family members. It would be a moving gesture to write a poem as a tribute to those who passed away.
5 Facts About Native Americans
The Sequoia tree
It is named in honor of the Cherokee leader, Sequoyah.
Origins of the term ‘Indian’
The word was formed by Christopher Columbus.
Toothbrushes of Native Americans
They were made using the hair of porcupines.
The history of the Mohawk hairstyle
It is named after the Mohawk tribe.
Eradication of Native cultures
This was done by both the U.S. and Canada.
Why National Trail of Tears Commemoration Day is Important
It speaks of the sufferings of Native Americans
We love the day because it tells us about the history of the U.S, and the sufferings and bloodshed faced by the Native Americans. It allows everyone to grieve and ensure such acts are not repeated.
It narrates what war can do
The commemoration day is important since it tells us about the tragedy that is brought upon a country due to war. It also shows us why it must be avoided at all costs.
It increases acceptance of different ethnicities and cultures
The day occurred in history because the Native Americans were different and considered less educated. Remembering the bloodshed teaches us not to discriminate based on culture and ethnicities.
National Trail of Tears Commemoration Day dates