Yesterday, the Georgia Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association had its first meeting to commemorate the 180th Anniversary of the removal of the Cherokee from Georgia. About 35 people listened to Mayor Pro-tem, Marie Willsey of Roswell, deliver a proclamation to the Association. Afterward, Walter Knapp, Vice President of the Georgia Chapter presented “Exploring The Myths to Find The Realities of the Removal Act of 1830.”
Above is the “official press release” of the event. It was my pleasure to give the opening presentation to what will be a series of presentations relating to the Removal over the rest of our meetings this year. What continually amazes me is how few Georgians even know about the Removal Act and its devasting impact on The Cherokee and other eastern tribes. During my talk, I commented on three reasons it ought to be taught, along with all Native History, in our schools.
- It is arguably the most significant event in Georgia history, and maybe even the U.S. history.
- It is the largest forced mass migration in our history
- It is the greatest source for teachers to find evidence of government conflict and Constitutional crises for class discussions with middle-year and high school students.
My presentation focused on the first three articles of the Constitution (Legislative, Executive, and Judicial), its different interpretations, and the effects of The Marshall Trilogy and other judicial decisions had on the removal. I also introduced the link below which shows the 1.5 Billion Acres of Indian land gobbled by the United States in just 100 years.
I closed the presentation with a quote from the Honorable Troy Wayne Poteet, Chief Justice of the Cherokee Supreme Court. “No one here today was around at the time. None of you is responsible, nor are you to blame. But that does not excuse you from knowing what happened.”
The quote is a reflection of the sentiment of every one of the leaders of the 573 Federally recognized tribes, as their primary wish is that their history, the real history of our country, be taught in school.
Hopefully, it helped eliminate many of the misconceptions surrounding the removal and spark some interest in teaching Native History in our schools.