The US government passed a law in 1830 called the Indian Removal Act. This allowed the US government the right to force Indian tribes to vacate their land and move to reservation lands, geographical areas the government had put aside for their use. Most Indian tribes did not want to leave their land. It was their spiritual and physical home. But the government sent in the army to force tribes to move.
and four other nations - the Seminoles, Choctaw, Creek, and
Chickasaw - were told to leave their land in the Southeast. The US government gave them land in Oklahoma. The Cherokee refused to leave. They had no desire to live in Oklahoma. They wanted to live in the land of their ancestors, where they had always lived. The Cherokee took their case to the US Supreme Court.
They won! The Supreme Court said the Cherokee were right - the US government could not force them to move. The Cherokee people were so happy. They thought they had won the battle to live on their own land. But they were mistaken.
President Andrew Jackson ignored the Supreme Court ruling. He directed the US Army to capture all the Cherokee they could find and force them to move. The US Army followed the president's direction. The Supreme Court did nothing.
This was an incredibly sad time in American history. Most Cherokee had to walk the whole way. They walked through rain and cold and incredible heat. More than 4,000 Cherokees died on the journey. That is why this forced eviction was called "The Trail of Tears."
of Tears - Why and What Happened in 5 minutes (YouTube)
Tears, educational video for kids
Native Americans of the Southeast - Seminoles, Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek,
Return to Native Americans in Olden Times
Native Americans for Kids
Native Americans in US, Canada, and the Far North
Early people of North America (during the ice
age 40,000 years ago)
Northeast Woodland Tribes and Nations
- The Northeast Woodlands include all five great lakes as well as the Finger Lakes and the Saint Lawrence River. Come explore the 3 sisters,
longhouses, village life, the League of Nations, sacred trees, snowsnake games, wampum, the
arrowmaker, dream catchers, night messages, the game of sep and more. Special Sections:
The Lenape Indians. Read two
myths: Wise Owl and
The Invisible Warrior.
Southeast Woodland Tribes and Nations
- The Indians of the Southeast were considered members of the Woodland Indians. The
people believed in many deities, and prayed in song and dance
for guidance. Explore the darkening land, battle techniques, clans and marriage, law and order, and
more. Travel the Trail of Tears.
Indians and Cherokee
Plains Indians - What was life like in
what is now the Great Plains region of the United States? Some
tribes wandered the plains in search of foods. Others settled down and grew crops. They spoke different
was the buffalo so important? What different did horses make?
What was coup counting? Who was
Southwest Indians -
Pueblo is not the
name of a tribe. It is a Spanish word for village. The Pueblo People are the decedents of the
Navajo and the
Apache arrived in the southwest in the 1300s. They
both raided the peaceful
Pueblo tribes for food and
other goods. Who were the Devil Dancers? Why are blue stones important? What is a wickiup? Who was
Child of Water?
Pacific Coastal Northwest Indians -
What made some of the Pacific Northwest Indian tribes "rich" in ancient times? Why were woven mats so
important? How did totem poles get started? What was life like
in the longhouse? What were money blankets and coppers? How did
the fur trade work? How did
Raven Steal Crow's
Inland Plateau People - About
10,000 years ago, different tribes of Indians settled in the Northwest Inland Plateau region of the
United States and Canada, located between two huge mountain ranges - the Rockies and the Cascades. The
Plateau stretches from BC British Columbia all the way down to nearly Texas. Each village was independent, and each had a
democratic system of government. They were deeply religious and believed spirits could be found
everything - in both living and non-living things. Meet the
California Indians - The Far West was
a land of great diversity. Death Valley and Mount Whitney are the highest and lowest points in the
United States. They are within sight of each other. Tribes living in what would become California were
as different as their landscape.