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The Trail of Tears was a tragic event in American history that resulted in the forced removal and relocation of thousands of Native Americans from their ancestral homes to distant lands. It is estimated that over 4,000 Cherokee died during this event due to exposure, disease and starvation. The tragedy of this historic event has been felt by many generations since then, including those directly involved—the Cherokee leaders, the United States government and the state of Georgia. This paper will discus the issues faced by one particular group in relation to The Trail of Tears: the Cherokee Leaders.

When considering the issue faced by this particular group it is important to note two things: firstly, what were their options at that time and secondly how could they have acted differently if given an alternate choice? In order to answer these questions we must take into consideration what occurred prior to The Trail or Tears being set into motion. Firstly there was a long history of conflict between white settlers looking for land and indigenous tribes that had been living on it for generations; leading ultimately up to passage of Indian Removal Act (1830). This Act declared any treaties made with Indians null and void, which meant all sovereignty held by respective nations was effectively taken away from them (Littlefield & McLoughlin, 1992). In 1831 chief John Ross led a delegation representing 16 different western tribes went Washington D.C., including delegates from both Creek Nation and Cherokee Nation who petitioned against their impending removal out west (Smithsonian Institution, 2020). Despite such efforts president Andrew Jackson did not budge on his policy; as he argued federal funds paid out would be much less than amount needed for resettlement costs associated with moving entire populations across nation (Hudson & McDaniel 2008). So while some members accepted terms offered by US government other chiefs like Ross refused believing they should maintain control over their own homeland thus attempting various forms reject proposed terms outright (McLoughlin 1994).

Despite strong opposition among some tribal members majority eventually agreed accept Treaty New Echota which established boundary line between Georgia US territory 1835 (King 2016). Under treaty provisions Cherokees were allowed receive $5 million dollars compensation for lands but also stipulated future migration away southern states take place within three years meaning its people must find new home further west no later than 1838 failure do so would result immediate military expulsion them from national boundaries (Dedera 2018) . For many however realization pressure exerted upon them proved too great even after signing agreement as true intent behind its signing still unclear present day researchers historians alike continue dispute actual role played chief John Ross during negotiations either way it’s clear fact result would be same regardless whether individual groups chose stay go or not eventually all ended up leaving south anyways despite best efforts otherwise (McLoughlin 1994 ).
To summarize situation faced Cherokee leaders at time they basically had two choices either sign treaty accept money provided while simultaneously relinquishing rights own self-determination or refuse submit demands imposed upon them face certain death exile once again highlighting devastating impact Removal Act had native peoples throughout America during 1830s period when considered full context implications such undertaking became increasingly apparent why these individuals felt obligated comply with US Government’s wishes albeit reluctantly so doing ultimately guaranteeing future generations chance survive West unmolested legal basis any hope autonomy completely lost almost instantaneously .
In hindsight could alternative approaches been taken represent interests those affected more appropriately manner? Many scholars agree likely though specifics vary depending whom ask indeed possible argue concessions might found political framework already existed mid nineteenth century allowing Native Americans greater degree freedom operate outside confines imposed colonial powers British Empire example although little evidence actually happened reality(Green 1978). Such theoretical conclusions course can only speculated upon retrospect yet nonetheless provide valuable insight into understanding how events unfolded way did importance making well informed decisions when dealing issues consequences potentially far reaching nature discussed earlier clearly evidenced adage ‘history repeats itself’ holds especially true here case unfortunately lack foresight proper attention paid details lead down path destruction ruin most notably experienced via Trail Tears .

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