The Indian Removal Act of 1830 called for the voluntary or forcible removal of all Indians from the eastern United States to the state of Oklahoma. May of 1838 marked the deadline for voluntary native removal, many people agreed to move, however many refused. The military was prepared to use force and did so under the command of General Winfield Scott. General Scott ordered the round-up and removal of over 17,000 Cherokees who refused to leave. So began the Cherokee "Trail of Tears," one of the darkest episodes in relations between the United States and Native Americans.
The process was swift and brutal. Detachments of soldiers arrived at every Cherokee house and drove men, women, and children out of their homes with only the clothes on their backs. They were forced into encampments while awaiting removal. The first group was taken by boat across Alabama after leaving Rossís landing. Great hardship and death became part of their journey Food and supplies were limited and disease was rampant. In June of 1838, the rivers were to low for travel. The last group was sent by land to Waterloo, where they reloaded and continued. Because of so much hardship, all remaining were carried on different routes. As many as 4,000 deaths occurred because of this forced removal of civilized Native Americans from their rightful homes.
The Creeks were from Alabama and Georgia. They gave up millions of acres of land and homes. Many were put into chains and taken to Oklahoma. Over 14,000 were removed, with over 3,500
dying. They traveled thru the Tuscumbia area and camped near Spring Park.
The Chickasaw were people from Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky. They also suffered the same indignation.
The Choctaw were from Alabama and Mississippi. Over 14,000 were sent to Oklahoma, however approx. 5,000 remained in Mississippi and lower Alabama.
During the Seminole removal from Florida, a group split and entered into the swamps. There they fought the U. S. for 7 years, and were never conquered.
Join us as we honor those from the past who traveled this Trail of Tears. Let us learn from this mistake, accept each other as we are, and walk together in peace.