Trail of Tears Anniversary Ceremony

Dear Editor:

The year 2008 is the 170th anniversary of the removal of the Cherokee Indians from Georgia and the beginning of the “Trail of Tears”. The Georgia Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association will be marking this anniversary with a special ceremony at our next meeting on Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 10:30 a.m. in Cedartown, Georgia. The meeting place is yet to be determined.

Cedartown is the site of one of the unfortified posts established in 1838 to aid with the removal. The U. S. government built 10 fortified posts and 4 unfortified posts in Georgia. The Treaty of New Echota was signed by a small group of Cherokees, most notably Major Ridge, John Ridge and Elias Boudinot, on December 29, 1835. It ceded the remaining Cherokee territory east of the Mississippi to the United States in return for five million dollars and land west of the Mississippi. It was ratified by Congress on May 23, 1836 by a single vote. Removal was set to occur within two years of that date. Chief John Ross, who was opposed to removal, continued to fight even as late as the spring of 1838 for the right of his people to remain in their homeland.

General Winfield Scott ordered removal to begin on May 26, 1838. Cherokees were rounded-up and brought to the nearest fortified post. From there they were taken to departure points in Tennessee and Alabama. On June 19, 1838 Gen. Charles Floyd reported to Gen. Scott that no Indians were left in Georgia except those too sick to travel. Of the approximately 17,000 Cherokees removed from the southeast, between 2000 and 4000 perished during or as a result of the removal process.

The Trail of Tears Association and its major partner, the National Park Service, are dedicated to identifying and preserving sites associated with the removal of Native Americans from the Southeast. We are also committed to educating the public about this tragic period in our country’s history. The TOTA was created to support the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail established by an act of Congress in 1987. The Association consists of nine state chapters representing the nine states that the Cherokee and other tribes traveled through on their way to present-day Arkansas and Oklahoma.

You need not be a member to attend our chapter meetings nor have Indian heritage, just an interest and desire to learn more about this fascinating subject. There is no fee to attend.

For more information about the TOTA, visit the National website at or the Georgia Chapter website at

For questions about the TOTA or the May meeting, contact Linda Baker at 770-704-6338 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..