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When delegates of the newly independent American Colonies met in Philadelphia in 1787 to write a constitution, they took inspiration from many sources, including the Native Americans.  Much of the Constitution came to reflect the Native Americans ideas, but did not include them until the 20th Century, resulting in the loss of lives and the removal of many tribes from their homeland.

NC101-"Founding Fathers"

1829 Gold was discovered on Cherokee land in Georgia.  The following year the state of Georgia passed a law outlawing the Cherokees from mining the gold.  This was the first of several laws that led to the “Trail of Tears’; enforced by Andrew Jackson. 100 years after the first law passed against the Cherokees, the First National Bank of Atlanta issued a twenty dollar bill honoring Andrew Jackson, ( and his legacy, the “Trail of Tears”).

NC102-"Jackson's Legacy"

The white man never fully understood what the buffalo meant to the Indian: it related to every aspect of his life, his culture and even his religion.

NC103-"Legal Tender"

No tribe has the right to sell, even to each other, much less to strangers.  Sell a country! Why not sell the air, the great sea, as well as the earth!  Didn’t the Great Spirit make them all for the use of his children? Tecumseh, Shawnee

NC104-"Sell This Land"

Cherokees!  The President of the United States has sent me, with a powerful army, to cause you, in obedience to the Treaty of 1835, to join that part of your people who are already established in prosperity, on the other side of the Mississippi.  Unhappily, the two years which were allowed for the purpose, you have suffered to pass away without following, and without making any preparation to follow, and now, or by the time that this solemn address shall reach your distant settlements, the emigration must be commenced in haste, but, I hope, without disorder.  I have no power, by granting a farther delay, to correct the error that you have committed.  The full moon of May is already on the wane, and before another shall have passed away, every Cherokee man, woman and child, in those States, must be in motion to join their brethren in the far West. General Winfield Scott, Cherokee Agency, May 10, 1838

NC105-"At The End Of The Trail"

Like the beautiful, lone bird which lived in ancient times in the Arabian desert for 500 to 600 years and then set itself on fire, rising renewed from the ashes to start antoher long life;  the Cherokee Nation and the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper arose from the ashes of the TRAIL OF TEARS, to rebuild in Indian Territory, present day Oklahoma.

NC106-"Leaving New Echota"

When delegates of the newly independent American Colonies met in Philadelphia in 1787 to write a constitution, they took inspiration from many sources, including the Native Americans.  Much of the Constitution came to reflect the Native Americans ideas, but did not include them until the 20th Century, resulting in the loss of lives and the removal of many tribes from their homeland.

NC107-"We The People-Removal"

The Cherokee People were illegally removed from their homes, imprisoned, belongings confiscated, and forced on a winter journey of death to distant lands in the West.  Thousands of souls perished on this “Trail of Tear”… and their souls call out for justice….IMPEACH JACKSON!

NC108-"Call For Impeachment"

American Indians have proudly fought for their own nations, as well as serving in every war of the United States and branch of the military; including the medical corps, military police, engineering corps and the cavalry.  The Indians offered their services, lives and money in these wars, and in WWI, more served in proportion to their number and means than any other race or class of the population, despite the fact the United States did not universally give Indians citizenship until 1924.

NC109-"Freedom Isn't Free"

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Declaration of Independence

NC110-"Created Equal"

The Phoenix rises from the ashes  to start another long life; like the Cherokee Nation that arose from the ashes of the Trail of Tears, to rebuild a new and great nation in Indian Territory.

NC111-"Out Of The Ashes"

In 1835, the most infamous of the treaties was negotiated at New Echota, Georgia, the Cherokee capital.  The treaty was never ratified, but less than three years later federal troops began to round up the eighteen thousand Cherokees who lived on the land.  By riverboat, wagon andhorseback - but mainly on foot - the Cherokee began their forced exile across the Mississippi.  Over four thousand men, women, and children died on that fateful journey.  The silent graves stretching from the foothills of the Smoky Mountains to their new territory in the West, mark what has come to be known to the Cherokee as the TRAIL OF TEARS.

NC112-"We The People-On The Trail Of Tears"

Egypt had its locusts, Asiatic countries their cholera, England its black plague.  But it was left for unfortunate Indian Territory to be afflicted with the worse scourge of the 19th century, the Dawes Commission. Enrolled Oklahoma Indian

NC113-"Enrollment Day"

The Phoenix rises from the ashes  to start another long life; like the Cherokee Nation that arose from the ashes of the Trail of Tears,  and the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper that arose from the ashes of the fire in Georgia, to rebuild a new great nation and newspaper in Indian Territory.

NC114-"From Out Of The Fire And Ashes"

The Declaration of Independence proclaims, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  The “First Americans” were denied these rights until the 20th. Century, resulting in the loss of life, liberty and happiness.

NC115-"Promised Unalienable Rights"

When delegates of the newly independent American Colonies met in Philadelphia in 1787 to write a constitution, they took inspiration from many sources, including the Native Americans.  Much of the Constitution came to reflect the Native Americans ideas, but did not include them until the 20th Century, resulting in the loss of lives and the removal of many tribes from their homeland.

NC116-"We The First People"

In 1835, the most infamous of the treaties was negotiated at New Echota, Georgia, the Cherokee capital.  By riverboat, wagon and horseback - but mainly on foot - the Cherokee “Trail Walkers” began their forced exile across the Mississippi . Over four thousand men, women, and children made that fateful journey.

NC117-"We Will Not Forget-The Trail Of Tears"

Dragging Canoe was a great Cherokee War Chief of the 1700’s.  He defide the U.S. for over 50 years . . . and he predicted the Trail of Tears.  “We had hoped that the white men would not be willing to travel beyond the mountains.  Finely the whole country, which the Cherokees and their fathers have so long occupied; will be demanded, and the remnant of the Real People, once so great and formidable, will be compelled to seek refuge in some distant wilderness.”

NC118-"Flight To A Distant Wilderness"

In 1835, the most infamous of the treaties was negotiated at New Echota, Georgia, the Cherokee capital.  By riverboat, wagon and horseback - but mainly on foot - the Cherokee “Trail Walkers” began their forced exile across the Mississippi . Over four thousand men, women, and children made that fateful journey.

NC119-"Trail Walkers"

Dragging Canoe was a great Cherokee War Chief of the 1700’s.  He defide the U.S. for over 50 years . . . and he predicted the Trail of Tears.  “We had hoped that the white men would not be willing to travel beyond the mountains.  Finely the whole country, which the Cherokees and their fathers have so long occupied; will be demanded, and the remnant of the Real People, once so great and formidable, will be compelled to seek refuge in some distant wilderness.”

NC120-"Some Distant Wilderness"

We know that the white man does not understand our ways.  One portion of the land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs.  The earth is not his brother, but his enemy-and when he has conquered it, he moves on.  He leaves his fathers’ graves, and his children’s birthright is forgotten. Chief Seattle

NC121-"Winter Encampment"

The American Bison, misnamed “Buffalo” by the early white man, was the most important animal to the plains Indian.  It provided him with everything he needed.

NC122-"American Bison"

There was a time when our forefathers owned this great island.  The Great Spirit had made it for use of the indians.

NC123-"Great Island"

We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills and winding streams with tangled growth as “Wild”.  Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the “Great Mystery”.

NC124-"Great Mystery"

The Great God of nature has given each their lands.  He has given you an advantage, your animals are domestic, while our are wild.

NC125-"Land Of Our Fathers"

I have heard that you intend to settle us on a reservation.  I don’t want to settle.  I feel free and happy.

NC126-"Lost Freedom"

Like the beautiful, lone bird which lived in ancient times in the Arabian desert for 500 to 600 years and then set itself on fire, rising renewed from the ashes to start antoher long life;  the Cherokee Nation arose from the darkest period in time , (known today as the TRAIL OF TEARS), to rebuild a great nation in Oklahoma.

NC127-"Out Of The Darkness"

Native American diets and food practices have possibly changed more than any other ethnic group in the United States. Although the current diet of Native Americans may vary by tribe, and by personal traits such as age (e.g., young versus old), it closely resembles that of the U.S. white population. Their diet, however, is poorer in quality than that of the general U.S. population.

NC128-"Fast Food, Then And Now"

Cherokees!  The President of the United States has sent me, with a powerful army, to cause you, in obedience to the Treaty of 1835, to join that part of your people who are already established in prosperity, on the other side of the Mississippi.  Unhappily, the two years which were allowed for the purpose, you have suffered to pass away without following, and without making any preparation to follow, and now, or by the time that this solemn address shall reach your distant settlements, the emigration must be commenced in haste, but, I hope, without disorder.  I have no power, by granting a farther delay, to correct the error that you have committed.  The full moon of May is already on the wane, and before another shall have passed away, every Cherokee man, woman and child, in those States, must be in motion to join their brethren in the far West. General Winfield Scott, Cherokee Agency, May 10, 1838

NC129-"The Night The Lights Went Down In Georgia"

After approximately three weeks and 950 miles, the 2017 “Remember The Removal Bike Ride” cyclists formed bonds that will last a lifetime.  After seeing sites such as New Echota in Georgia, Red Clay in Tennessee and mantle Rock in Kentucky and other locations where Cherokee traveled the Trail of Tears’ northern route, they ended their journey on June 22, 2017 at the Cherokee Nation Courthouse Square.

NC130-"Remember The Removal Bike Ride"

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2018 - Designed by John G Matthews in cooperation with Ron Mitchell