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The Cherokee Trail of Tears

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Tuesday, February 27, 2024 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1CV031
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Materials for this program

The Trail of Tears by Robert Lindneux, 1942

During the early 1800s, the rapid spread of slave-based plantations lured Americans to the deeper South to seek wealth. Many of them encroached on land belonging to the Cherokee Nation in the Southeast. The expendability of Native Americans became a reality when the Indian Removal Act was passed in 1830, calling for the tribes’ expulsion from their homelands though forced migration to land west of the Mississippi.

The Cherokee call their 800-mile forced journey to Oklahoma in 1838 and 1839 “The Trail of Tears.” An estimated one-fourth of the 16,000 people who left their homeland died as a result of the move.

Historian Rowena McClinton discusses the chain of events that led to the removal of southeastern Native American nations, especially the Cherokee. She explores the Cherokee factionalism that led to the 1835 Treaty of New Echota and the raw realities Cherokees encountered during their removal. She also explains how the Trail of Tears is commemorated.

McClinton is a professor emerita of history at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and is the author of several books on the Cherokee.

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