Roughly a thousand years before the Europeans came to North America, the Cherokees occupied a large portion of present day states Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alabama. Cherokees before their regular contact with Europeans generally were a sedentary society that was matrilineal, meaning that their property and position passed from generation to generation through the mother's side of the family. Each Cherokee town theoretically was autonomous, having no leaders, chiefs, or European parlance who ruled over all the towns. Conflict raised when Cherokees inevitably became swept up in European wars along with the new U.S. government pursuing a policy to attempt to "civilize" the Indians. Europeans wanted the removal of treaty signed land designated to the Indians. To make such action happen, Europeans passed laws, acts, and treaties to fight their way into winning the land from the Indians. Debates pro removal and anti removal came from both Europeans and Cherokees. Though In spring of 1838, General Winfield Scott and several units of the U.S. army deployed to the Southeast to collect the Cherokees land and remove them to lands west of the Mississippi river. Undoubtedly starting the first of thirteen Cherokee parties on their forced march to the West, known as the Trail of Tears.
While most whites promoted arguments to have the Cherokee removed, some whites gave alternatives for the Indians to consider. In 1791, the new American nation signed a treaty with the Cherokees enforced their goal of leading them to a "greater degree of civilization". For their part, some cherokee leaders recognized that less land and fewer deer demanded major changes in their way of life, and they accepted "civilization". The main way that they achieved this was for Cherokee men to give up hunting and become farmers, which had been the traditional role of woman.