The United States is made out of survivors. It has survived the American Revolution, civil war, and 2 world wars. I would like to focus in a particular group of American survivors, The Cherokees. Stephen B. Oates tells us how the Cherokee Nation was forced to relocate their homes to Indian Territory, (Present day Oklahoma) In his book "Portrait of America". During this process of relocation the United States created a sub-nation of survivors that will forever remain part of our history and our future. Today Missouri has dedicated some of its lands to create the Trail of Tears State Park in Cape Girardeau County. Its web site supports Oates writings on the hardships the Cherokee Nation faced between 1838 and 1839.
Even before 1838 people had been moving to the Indian lands and the Native Americans were being forced to move west. Most of these moves happened by treaties where the US Government would promise protection for a price of their lands. These treaties keep happening more and more often taken considerate amounts of Indian territory every time. The Georgia legislature even passed a law to prohibit any Indian to gain any profit from their lands. The Georgia legislature even sent surveyors to map our pieces of lands of about 160 acres each. These acres would be distributed to the white citizens of Georgia though public lotteries. On top of the humiliation and total disrespect to the Cherokees and their lands, gold was found in Indian territory. People started showing up from all over the country, moving the Cherokees even further West. John Ross, Chief of the Cherokee Nation rushed to Washington to fight what was going on in his lands. He proposed a compromise that it would give the United States lands in Georgia if the Government would protect them on the remaining lands. As part of the proposal the Indians would be able to become citizens of what ever State they were living in.