The Trail of Tears refers to forced relocation of Native Americans from their homeland that they have lived on for centuries. They were forced to leave their ancestral land. Take a look below for 30 sad and bizarre facts about the Trail of Tears.
1. The white settlers who lived on USA’s western frontier came to the southeastern side and saw the Native Americans.
2. These white settlers were really scared of the Native Americans. More than being scared, they actually hated the Native Americans and their lifestyle.
3. For these white settlers, the Native Americans were mysterious and strange people. They were even considered as ‘alien’ by the white people.
4. For generations and for centuries, these Native Americans lived on the land that these white settlers wanted. The whites believed that they were the rightful owners of the land.
5. There were many powerful people, including the first President of America – George Washington, who believed that easiest way of dealing with the ‘Indian Problem’ was to civilize the ‘Indians’ or the ‘Native Americans.’
6. The white settlers wanted the Native Americans to learn how to read and write English.
7. The settlers encouraged the Indians to pick up the economic practices that was practiced in Europe.
8. The white settlers encouraged the Indians to adopt what is called ‘individual ownership of land and other properties.’ They were encouraged to even own African slaves.
9. The Indians or the Native Americans were converted to Christianity.
10. Many people belonging to the Seminole Indians, Creek Indians, Chickasaw Indians, Choctaw Indians and the Cherokee Indians went for those cultural changes and the whites referred to them as the ‘Five Civilized Tribes.’
11. Despite the Native Americans adopting these cultural changes, the white settlers were not really happy. They eyed for the land which was coveted.
12. More and more white settlers started pouring into the southeastern USA and all of them started eyeing the land of the Native Americans.
13. These settlers really wanted to build fortunes for themselves by growing cotton. They were not really concerned about the Natives or the extent to which they were ‘civilized’. All that the settlers wanted was land.
14. In order to get the land, these white settlers started indulging in unsavory things such as livestock stealing, looting houses and towns, burning down houses and towns and forcefully occupying the land that never belonged to them.
15. On one side the white settlers were involved in those unsavory deeds and on the other side, the state governments got involved in removing the Indians from the south.
16. The US Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Native Americans and stated that these practices were not acceptable. The court ruled that “the native nations were the personal nations of the Indians and that laws of Georgia could not be enforced on them.”
17. No one paid any heed to the ruling of Supreme Court and the all the abuses towards the Native Americans continued the same way as before.
18. President Andrew Jackson was one of the greatest advocates of removing the Native Indians from their homeland.
19. All these campaigns by the led to transfer of thousands of acres of prime lands to the white farmers (who wanted to grow cotton and other crops) from the Indian nations.
20. After Andrew Jackson became the President of America, he continued his crusade against the Native Americans and in 1830, went on to sign the Indian Removal Act.
21. The Indian Removal Act was not anything great. This act gave the US government to all the powers and rights needs to take away the land held by the Natives in the east of Mississippi in exchange for land in the west.
22. The land in the east of Mississippi was known to be perfect for growing cotton and that is the reason why the land was so coveted.
23. The land to the west of Mississippi became known as the ‘Indian Colonization Zone.’ This Indian Colonization Zone was envisioned by President Thomas Jefferson.
24. The Indian Colonization Zone was actually a piece was land that was acquired by the US through the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.
25. The land that was acquired through the Louisiana Purchase also included what would later become the State of Oklahoma barring the panhandle. The Indian Colonization Zone was in the area which would later become Oklahoma.
26. There were scores of people who believed that removal of the Native Americans to the west of Mississippi in the Indian Colonization Zone will resolve the conflict between the Native Americans and the Euro-Americans who were screaming about civilizing the continent.
27. The whole concept of Indian Colonization Zone (also, sometimes referred to as Indian Territory) was solidified under President John Quincy Adams’ administration.
28. The whole concept was completely developed under the rule of President Andrew Jackson.
29. The Indian Territory was eventually conceived in the year 1825. The Indian Territory or the Indian Colonization Zone was all the land that lay to the west of the Mississippi River.
30. Eventually, the Indian Territory would encircle Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and parts of Iowa. The Indian Removal Act was eventually signed in 1830.