Spring 2021


thomas bray

On March 1st, 1836, 23 members of the Cherokee Nation, including John Ridge (pictured left) signed the Treaty of New Echota, which ceded away much of the Nation’s land in exchange for $5,000,000 in compensation and assistance. Principal Chief John Ross (pictured right) refused to sign the treaty and urged the Cherokee people to stay in their homelands, in hopes to have the treaty rescinded. Despite these efforts, in 1838, Martin Van Buren directed General Winfield Scott to forcibly remove all those Cherokee who had not complied with the treaty. This removal became known as the Trail of Tears. Of the 16,000 Cherokee forced from their homes, 4,000 died during the ordeal. 

With the exception of the Oconaluftee Cherokee in North Carolina, and the Nantahala Cherokee who joined them in the western Appalachians, the Cherokee have been forced from their homelands and their history disrupted. For the Georgia Historical Commission, much of the Cherokee history has been relegated to these few acts of violence and oppression. Beyond this, there is little infrastructural recounting of history. While many towns and regions of North Georgia still bear Cherokee names — such as Dahlonega, Amicalola, and Sautee Nacoochee — the history of this land and the Cherokee people remains the subject of erasure

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