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Long before the dawn of history, the ancient ones came and went, leaving no trace of their hunts except the images chipped in stone.

201-Ancient Ones

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. Benjamin Franklin observed that the Cherokees and Iroquois had a fine working example of representative democracy, with an unwritten constitution that spelled out checks and balances, rules of procedure, limits of power and a stress on individual liberty.  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.

202 - The First Americans

Steve Foreman, (the Great Uncle of Cherokee Artist Ron Mitchell), worked as a missionary among his people during the turmoil of the removal period when the Cherokees were uprooted from their lands and forced to migrate west.  In 1838 he was briefly imprisoned over the removal issue, and in 1839 he led the last group to Indian Territory. After organizing the Cherokee Nation’s school system he became its first superintendent.  In 1844 he was elected to the Supreme Court of the Cherokee and was tribal executive councilor from 1847 to 1855.  Steve worked as a missionary in Texas during the Civil War.  Returning to Indian Territory after the war, he started “The Church in the Woods”, and continued his religious activities until his death in 1881.

203-Last To Leave

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 “REMOVAL” 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”.

204-Removal, 1838-1839

Not all Indians walked the “Trail Of Tears”, some went by river boat, some went into the hills to hide, and others fled into new frontiers and unknown lands.

205-Unto The Hills

The Winter of 1838-39 was the saddest time in Cherokee history, when the United States,, (represented by the Bald Eagle), took the Cherokee people from their homes, herded like cattle, and moved to Indian Territory through the bitter winter weather.  Over 4,000 Cherokees died due to this action of the government (represented by the messenger of death, the owl).  So sad and tragic was the journey that it is called , The Trail of Tears.

206-Winter Of Tears

The Winter of 1838-39 was the saddest time in Cherokee history, when the United States,, (represented by the Bald Eagle), took the Cherokee people from their homes, herded like cattle, and moved to Indian Territory through the bitter winter weather.  Over 4,000 Cherokees died due to this action of the government (represented by the messenger of death, the owl).  So sad and tragic was the journey that it is called , The Trail of Tears.

207-American Bison

The Winter of 1838-39 was the saddest time in Cherokee history, when the United States,, (represented by the Bald Eagle), took the Cherokee people from their homes, herded like cattle, and moved to Indian Territory through the bitter winter weather.  Over 4,000 Cherokees died due to this action of the government (represented by the messenger of death, the owl).  So sad and tragic was the journey that it is called , The Trail of Tears.

208-Cliff Dwellers

The Winter of 1838-39 was the saddest time in Cherokee history, when the United States,, (represented by the Bald Eagle), took the Cherokee people from their homes, herded like cattle, and moved to Indian Territory through the bitter winter weather.  Over 4,000 Cherokees died due to this action of the government (represented by the messenger of death, the owl).  So sad and tragic was the journey that it is called , The Trail of Tears.

209-Foreman's Party - Last To Leave

The Winter of 1838-39 was the saddest time in Cherokee history, when the United States,, (represented by the Bald Eagle), took the Cherokee people from their homes, herded like cattle, and moved to Indian Territory through the bitter winter weather.  Over 4,000 Cherokees died due to this action of the government (represented by the messenger of death, the owl).  So sad and tragic was the journey that it is called , The Trail of Tears.

210-Going Home

The Winter of 1838-39 was the saddest time in Cherokee history, when the United States,, (represented by the Bald Eagle), took the Cherokee people from their homes, herded like cattle, and moved to Indian Territory through the bitter winter weather.  Over 4,000 Cherokees died due to this action of the government (represented by the messenger of death, the owl).  So sad and tragic was the journey that it is called , The Trail of Tears.

211-Love Song

The Winter of 1838-39 was the saddest time in Cherokee history, when the United States,, (represented by the Bald Eagle), took the Cherokee people from their homes, herded like cattle, and moved to Indian Territory through the bitter winter weather.  Over 4,000 Cherokees died due to this action of the government (represented by the messenger of death, the owl).  So sad and tragic was the journey that it is called , The Trail of Tears.

212-Medicine Lodge

The Winter of 1838-39 was the saddest time in Cherokee history, when the United States,, (represented by the Bald Eagle), took the Cherokee people from their homes, herded like cattle, and moved to Indian Territory through the bitter winter weather.  Over 4,000 Cherokees died due to this action of the government (represented by the messenger of death, the owl).  So sad and tragic was the journey that it is called , The Trail of Tears.

213-Straglers, On The Trail of Tears

The Winter of 1838-39 was the saddest time in Cherokee history, when the United States,, (represented by the Bald Eagle), took the Cherokee people from their homes, herded like cattle, and moved to Indian Territory through the bitter winter weather.  Over 4,000 Cherokees died due to this action of the government (represented by the messenger of death, the owl).  So sad and tragic was the journey that it is called , The Trail of Tears.

214-The Gathering Place

The Winter of 1838-39 was the saddest time in Cherokee history, when the United States,, (represented by the Bald Eagle), took the Cherokee people from their homes, herded like cattle, and moved to Indian Territory through the bitter winter weather.  Over 4,000 Cherokees died due to this action of the government (represented by the messenger of death, the owl).  So sad and tragic was the journey that it is called , The Trail of Tears.

215-The Original Gathering Place

The Winter of 1838-39 was the saddest time in Cherokee history, when the United States,, (represented by the Bald Eagle), took the Cherokee people from their homes, herded like cattle, and moved to Indian Territory through the bitter winter weather.  Over 4,000 Cherokees died due to this action of the government (represented by the messenger of death, the owl).  So sad and tragic was the journey that it is called , The Trail of Tears.

216-The Spring Blessing

The Winter of 1838-39 was the saddest time in Cherokee history, when the United States,, (represented by the Bald Eagle), took the Cherokee people from their homes, herded like cattle, and moved to Indian Territory through the bitter winter weather.  Over 4,000 Cherokees died due to this action of the government (represented by the messenger of death, the owl).  So sad and tragic was the journey that it is called , The Trail of Tears.

217-Trail OF Blood and Tears

October 2014, with a light breeze blowing and dawn breaking across the hills, a herd of bison take the first steps on the return to the Cherokee Nation. “For most of us, the American bison symbolizes our great country  -  free, strong and resilient.  Those are the traits we indentify in ourselves as Indian People” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief John Baker. “that’s why the burralo has always represented something deeply spiritual to our tribal ancestors and why it’s important for us to reintroduce buffalo within our homelands.  Today, we are able to reconnect the Cherokee Nation with a prominent part of our history and our cultural roots.“

218-Let The Buffalo Return

Who let the Dog Soldiers out! They are members of one of the military societies of the Plains Indians, chosen for their bravery and fighting ability; and are sworn never to turn their faces from the enemy.

219-Who Let The Dogs Out

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 began their forced exile across the Mississippi, into the sitting sun and the “Nightland”, were your spirit went after death. Over four thousand men, women, and children made that fateful journey.

220-Into The Nightland

 

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All reproduction rights reserved by artist - Ron Mitchell
2016 - Designed by John G Matthews in cooperation with Ron Mitchell