The Hidden Truths of the Trail of Tears: A Story of Slavery

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Southern New Hampshire University
In the world of history, slavery has always been a topic that is hard to talk about. It is given a few chapters in a history book and talked about only when relevant, but it is a topic of significant importance. When discussed, it is spoken of as a thing that happened with European settlers going to Africa to find enslaved people, which eventually turned into what we know as the Atlantic Slave Trade. We often do not hear or discuss the slavery between two groups that had more in common. Many Native American tribes, namely the Cherokee, practiced the enslavement of African and African American people. Slavery has influenced the relationship between African American Freedmen and the Cherokee Nation. This exhibit will explain why this occurred and what the Cherokee Nation's goal was to participate in this horrible institution. This project will begin at the time of the Trail of Tears up until the Reconstruction Era. Typically, when people think of the Trail of Tears, they think of Andrew Jackson, the Five Civilized Tribes, and the Indian Removal Act of 1830. What is usually not discussed is that thousands of enslaved people were part of the Trail of Tears. During the time, slavery was widespread, mainly among the white settlers. Slavery among Indigenous people may be a less talked about subject since Native Americans were suffering their mistreatment by the American government. This is, by no means, an excuse for someone to ignore or brush aside this issue, but a lot of the time in history, particular events are overshadowed by others. It is also because most History classes at the elementary and high school levels mention the Trail of Tears in passing. It is discussed as wholly Native American mistreatment