The Trail Of Tears: The Forced Removal Of Native Americans To The West

The Trail Of Tears: The Forced Removal Of Native Americans To The West

The Indian Removal Act authorized Jackson to negotiate relocation terms with the five tribes to the west of the Mississippi and onto an “Indian colonization zone.” This zone was located in present-day Oklahoma, and Jackson promised the tribes parcels of land larger than their homelands.

But, in reality, Jackson had no interest in making deals with the tribes. Instead, Jackson conducted the Removal program in a most brutal fashion. He applied pressure on the tribes by refusing to pay annuities to tribal chiefs. He allowed the southern states to destroy tribal governments, make tribal laws illegal, and deny Native Americans the right to vote or sue in court.

Thus weakened, it was then easier for Jackson to coerce the tribes into unjust Removal treaties, and one by one the tribes relented. The Choctaws were the first to go within the year. It was a brutal trip with many “bound in chains and marched double file,”. They were forced to endure floods and sub-zero temperatures.

About 4,000 Choctaws died of cholera, and hundreds more of malnutrition, exposure, and accidents due to both the corruption and ineptitude of the federal government. After the Choctaw had arrived in their designated zone, one Choctaw chief reported to an Alabama newspaper that the nightmarish trip was a “trail of tears and death.”

via allthatsinteresting The Trail Of Tears: The Forced Removal Of Native Americans To The West

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