Saturday, June 13, 2015

From--The Cherokees vs Andrew Jackson--Smithsonian Magazine 2011

All the sad stories, from Smithsonian Magazine​article

On December 29, a small group of Cherokees gathered at the home of Ridge’s nephew Elias Boudinot to sign the Treaty of New Echota. After Ridge made his mark, he paused and said, “I have signed my death warrant.”

John Ross tried to overturn the treaty for two years but failed. In May 1838, U.S. troops herded more than 16,000 Cherokees into holding camps to await removal to present-day Oklahoma. Indians who tried to flee were shot, while those who waited in the camps suffered from malnutrition, dysentery and even sexual assault by the troops guarding them. Within a month, the first Cherokees were moved out in detachments of around a thousand, with the first groups leaving in the summer heat and a severe drought. So many died that the Army delayed further removal until the fall, which meant the Cherokees would be on the trail in winter. At least a quarter of them—4,000—would perish during the relocation.

Ridge headed west ahead of his tribesmen and survived the journey, but on the morning of June 22, 1839, separate groups of vengeful Cherokees murdered him, John Ridge and Boudinot. Ross, appalled, publicly mourned the deaths. “Once I saved Major Ridge at Red Clay, and would have done so again had I known of the plot,” he told friends.

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