The ‘Trail of Tears’ for Native Americans is comparable to the ‘Long ship rides the Africans experienced as they were bound, chained, taken to the Americas and enslaved by the Europeans’. But, the Native Americans weren’t taken from a foreign land. They were already living in the Americas when the Europeans arrived. So, the Europeans rounded the Native Americans up, held them in animal pens, and then herded them like cattle from Southeastern United States to the Western part of the country.
Along this approximately 900 mile ‘Trail of Tears’ journey, the Native Americans walked under forced conditions with armed chaperones and in harsh weather with little or no clothing and shoes. Many Native Americans died from starvation, disease, cold weather, and shear exhaustion. Native men, women, boys, girls, babies in their mother’s arms, young and old were marched across the United States from a starting point of the Southeast (Georgia, Alabama, Carolina’s.) to Oklahoma, with a few stopping places in Arkansas and Texas.
It was in preparation for the ‘Trail of Tears’ journey and after it that audits of the Natives were taken. These audits or censuses were taken as Rolls. Many of these ‘Rolls’ or lists of Native names exist today and are used in many instances to determine what Native Americans the Federal and State governments recognize as authentic Native Americans.
It is important to note that in the forced caravan of Native Americans there were many different tribes represented and some blacks. The blacks were considered by the White capturers to be slaves although they were part of Native family units.
Article by CherokeeCloud