The trail of Tears

and Section The Trail of Tears As free citizens of the Cherokee nation, we appeal to the law-abiding citizenry of the United States of America to see that justice is done regarding our legal right to remain in our country and ancestral lands which have been in our possession, and that of our forefathers, for many generations.
Three years ago, in 1833, an illegitimate treaty was signed which agreed to our removal as a people from our lands. The signers of the so-called Treaty of New Echota (“Removal Act “) were not legal representatives of the Cherokee nation and therefore the treaty should have been declared null and void.
Over 15,000 of our members, led by Chief John Ross, have signed a petition in protest of this false treaty. Despite this, the United States Supreme Court dismissed our concerns and this year ratified the treaty. We have now been given two years to migrate voluntarily to the west, away from our own country, to unfamiliar territory beyond the Mississippi. Forcible removal has been threatened if we do not leave on our own.
Citizens of the United States, we do not wish to leave our lands, nor should we be forced to do so. Such a move would not be in our best interests. indeed it would be fatal to us as a nation. Firstly, it is an area completely unknown to us, and in addition is already occupied by other Indian nations who would not take kindly to encroachers upon their territory. We would be forced into close proximity with neighbors with whom we do not share a language or customs. The territory is also inadequately supplied with wood and water, making it much harder for us to survive.
We appeal to the sense of fairness in the citizens of the United States, because previous to the false treaty, all agreements upheld our sovereign rights. Those treaties explicitly acknowledged us to be a separate people, in a separate territory comprising our own country, and were supposed to be secured and protected by your government. In the 1832 Supreme Court case Worcester v. Georgia, the majority opinion written by Chief Justice John Marshall rendered a judgment firmly upholding our rights. It stated, in part, that Indian nations should be regarded as distinct political communities, with their own territorial boundaries in which exclusive authority is exercised, as guaranteed by the United States.
Although the case specifically addressed the legal question of whether the State of Georgia could forcibly seize any person residing within our nation with our permission, it forthrightly addresses our territorial and sovereign rights. Imagine if another country was about to take your lands, fair citizens of the United States, based on a false treaty. Would you not be outraged? Would you not seek to do all within your power to remain in the land to which you held an exclusive claim? That is what we are now attempting to, in the face of opposition from the leadership of the United States. President Andrew Jackson, the Congress and the Supreme Court have all turned their backs on us and are not inclined to uphold our rights as a nation, based solely on a treaty signed by renegades that did not represent our people.
Therefore, we ask that the people of your great country act in concert to ensure that justice prevails in allowing us to remain in our lands. We have amply demonstrated that the Treaty of New Echota was made under false pretenses, and that given that fact, the legal grounds established in previous treaties should form the foundation of our sovereign claims. Just as our territorial rights were upheld in the dispute with the State of Georgia, so should they now.
It is manifest that this course of action is the only avenue for justice and fairness. As citizens of the United States, with your own lands, homes and domiciles, you can certainly understand how we are vehemently set against any measure that would force us west, at variance with our collective will.
Lastly, we humbly remind you that when your ancestors first arrived on these shores, they were kindly received by our forefathers. Whatever favor was asked of the Indian, who controlled the lands, it was granted. Our two peoples lived in peace and friendship. Although the balance of power has changed since that time, it is our belief that as a virtuous, Christian nation, the citizens of the United States are desirous of seeing that justice is done. With the popular opinion of its people turned against the false treaty, the President, elected officials and justices will have no choice but to pay heed and once again recognize the right of the Cherokee nation to govern its own lands.
Work Cited
“The Indian Removal Act of 1830.” Historical Documents in United States History.
18 Mar. 2008 .