Trail of Tears vs. the Long Walk of the Navajo

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, Cherokee, Indian Removal Act Pages: 5 (2138 words) Published: April 16, 2007
The Trail of Tears vs. The Long Walk of The Navajo

The Trail of Tears occurred in 1838 and about a fourth of the Cherokee nation perished during it. Out of the 12,000 Cherokees that traveled along the northern route, 4,000 were killed. The Long Walk of the Navajo occurred between 1863 and 1866, where hundreds of Navajos died from disease, starvation, and exposure. Both of these events played a major role in the history of America and the history of Native Americans. Although the Cherokees and Navajos are very different, they share a similar goal of wanting to survive. They both had a culture that focused upon hunting and gathering, but they also had to focus on finding an eventual homeland. The government of the United Sates stripped them of their rights and forced them to stray away from their traditional culture. Many lives were lost, but more importantly the pride of the Navajos and the Cherokee was lost as well. The Cherokee suffered the largest loss when being compared to the Navajos. They were brave and listened to the government, but they still lost their tribal land. During the 1830's the East coast was burdened with new settlers and becoming vastly populated. President Andrew Jackson and the government had to find a way to move people to the West to make room. He passed the Indian Removal Policy in1830. The Indian Removal Policy, which called for the removal of Native Americans from the Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and the Georgia area. They also moved their capital Echota in Tennessee to the new capital called New Echota, Georgia and then they eventually moved to the Indian Territory. The Indian Territory was declared in the Act of Congress in 1830 with the Indian Removal Policy. The government of the United States did not really try all that hard to avoid the conflict even though they knew what kind of tragedy it would cause. According to President Andrew Jackson: "Humanity and national honor demand that every effort should be made to avert so great a calamity. It is too late to inquire whether it was just in the United States to include them and their territory within the bounds of the new States, whose limits they could control" (Filler 15).Elias Boudinot, Major Ridge, and John Ridge accepted the responsibility for the removal of the Cherokee, which was one of the largest tribes in the Southeast that were the earliest to adapt to European ways. There was a war involving the Cherokee and the Chickasaw before the Indian Removal Policy was passed. The Cherokee were defeated by the Chicksaw, which caused Chief Dragging Canoe to sign a treaty in 1777 to split up their tribe and have the portion of the tribe in Chattanooga, Tennessee called the Chickamauga. Chief Doublehead of the Chickamauga, a branch of the Cherokee, signed a treaty to give away their lands. Tribal law says "Death to any Cherokee who proposed to sell or exchange tribal land." Chief Doublehead was later executed by Major Ridge. There was another treaty signed in December 29, 1835 which is called The Treaty of New Echota. It was signed by a party of 500 Cherokee out of about 17,000. Between 1785 and 1902 twenty-five treaties were signed with white men to give up their tribal lands (Woodward 192-205). The Cherokee would find themselves in a nightmare for the next year. In 1838 General Winfield Scott got tired of delaying this longer than the 2 years he waited already so he took charge in collecting the Cherokee. The Cherokee were taken from their homes and their belongings. They were placed in holding camps so no one would escape. The Cherokee were to be moved in the fall of 1838, but the journey did not occur in October, 1838 because of bad weather. They were now supposed to move 13,000 Cherokee in the spring of 1839 a distance of eight-hundred miles. The Cherokee were not fed enough so they suffered from malnutrition. They were badly clothed for the spring and many caught diseases, which caused death. The...

Cited: Bruchac, Joeseph. Trails of Tears, Paths of Beauty
National Geographic: Washington, D.C., 2000
Coolidge, Dane. The Navajo Indians
Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston, 1930
Filler, Louis. The Removal of The Cherokee Nation
D.C. Heath and Company : Boston, 1962
Woodward, Grace. The Cherokees
University of Oklahoma Press: U.S.A., 1963
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