Author examines history of the Trail of Tears
“An American Betrayal: Cherokee Patriots and the Trail of Tears” (Henry Holt), by Daniel Blake Smith
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Daniel Blake Smith reveals new insight into the events that led up to the forced relocation of the Cherokee Nation in “An American Betrayal: Cherokee Patriots and the Trail of Tears.”
After Andrew Jackson became president of the United States, he led efforts to remove the Cherokee Nation from its homeland. Congress passed the Indian Removal Act of 1830, and Jackson quickly signed the bill into law.
Cherokee leader John Ross believed in remaining on their ancestral lands, and fought hard for his people. Others, including Elias Boudinot and Major Ridge, believed the best way to stay alive and remain strong was to move. Their heartfelt beliefs tore their people apart before the eventual relocation.
The Cherokee Nation was forced to give up its lands east of the Mississippi River and to migrate to an area in present-day Oklahoma. This perilous forced trek was called the Trail of Tears.
The Cherokee seemed to assimilate to the New World around them better than other tribes, but that didn’t stop racism and greed. The exhaustive research and insight into the key players make this book a necessary read for the history buff or scholar. Though it sometimes is a bit repetitive and dry, that still doesn’t lessen the impact.