Trail of Tears

by Juxhin Meminaj

The Indian Problem and Indian Removal Act

Since the beginning of colonization white Americans have hated Native Americans. White settlers wanted land and they believed they deserved that land. They looked at Indians like Aliens and unworthy of having land. In many cases white settlers disrespected Indians and this led to a long time hatred of whites from Indians that still exists today. Many people like George Washington tried to solve this problem by civilizing the tribes and it worked in some areas of the country but not all. Many whites were not concerned with Indians being civilized they just wanted land and resources. They did not care if they had to exterminate Indians to complete their desires. Andrew Jackson had a long term hatred for the Indians especially because many of them sided with the British during the American Revolution. In 1830 Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act which gave the federal government power to exchange Native land in Mississippi for land to the west. The law required for negotiations and fair treaties for the removal of Indians voluntarily. Jackson, however ignored the law and forced the tribes to vacate the land using the U.S army. In 1931 he removed the first tribe called Choctaw. The five major tribes that were affected by this act were Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole. This were the more civilized tribes that had begun learning to read and write. This tribes were a part of Washington's efforts to civilize Native Americans. They were forced to make the journey on foot, many tied together with chains. They had no food supplies or government help. Thousands of people died. One Choctaw leader famously said "a trail of tears and death".

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Did You Know?

Indian removal took place in the Northern states as well. In Illinois and Wisconsin, for example, the bloody Black Hawk War in 1832 opened to white settlement millions of acres of land that had belonged to the Sauk, Fox and other native nations.