A hundred and fifty years after the Cherokee were forced from the southern Appalachians to Oklahoma; one man of Cherokee descent revisited the old capital of New Echota. He wrote " My whole body chills as I face once again the fact that an entire nation was moved to another part of the country like wild horses to the dog food company."
The Cherokee Indians were not the only native Americans to be forced west of the Mississippi by the removal act. (Lang 22) tribes from Florida to the Great Lakes were also moved. (Khun 13) You rarely hear of the other tribes because the suffering of the Cherokees seems to overshadow it all.
In the early 1800's Cherokee life was fairly simple. They were a hard working group of people who often lived together in small communities. They were a spiritual and religious people who believed the were the "principle people. (Khun 22) This belief was not shared by the white race who looked down upon them. The Cherokee's interaction with the whites was limited to trading and it was apparent by the rotten meat and bitter whisky that whites offered that they did not feel the Cherokees were equal. (Lang 49)
The treaty of New Echota was issued December 29th 1835 by congress. (Scott-Green 37) Fifteen of the eighteen thousand Cherokees opposed the treaty. (Lang 42)
The three thousand who supported it were mix-bloods. (Lang 42) The reason behind the treaty had to do with the gold found on the Cherokee territory earlier that year. White men decided it would be "best" if the Cherokee moved. (Khun 16) Not all white men were for the treaty. A man by the name of John Ross helped fight the treaty. He helped the Cherokees trade fairly with the whites and bought their land for them in his name since they were unable to do so. (Lang 47)
General James E. Wool was in charge of moving the Indians by the January 1839. (Khun 26) Wool however found the job to be