Trail of Tears

Trail of Tears (HM1EJQ)

Location: Cherokee, NC 28719 Swain County
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Country: United States of America
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N 35° 29.07', W 83° 18.948'

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Qualla Town

In 1838, the United States government deported more than 16,000 Cherokee Indian people from their homelands in Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina and Georgia, and sent them to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). Thousands of Cherokees perished during the forced relocation, which has become known as the Trail of Tears. This tragic episode of our history was a result of the 1830 Indian Removal Act, an official government policy to purge native nations from the eastern United States.

Because the Cherokee community of Qualla Town separated from the Cherokee Nation around 1820, the people of Qualla were not legally required to emigrate on the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma in 1838. By 1837, WIlliam H. Thomas, Qualla's white patron, secured state and federal guarantees for the "Qualla Town Cherokees" right to remain in their ancient homeland.

Nevertheless, the U.S. Army threatened the people of Qualla with deportation in September 1838, when troops commanded by Lt. C.H. Larned came to Qualla in search of fugitives from the Cherokee Nation. Larned directed Yonaguska, the leader of the settlement, to assemble the community for inspection.

The troops counted the Qualla Town people against an 1837 roster to determine if any fugitives were present. Larned then demanded that Yonaguska send Qualla scouts to find their own kinspeole who were hiding in the mountains, and threatened to deport the Qualla community if they did not cooperate. The conscripted Qualla scouts led the troops on wild goose chases through the Smokey Mountains, far from the hiding places of the fugitives.

After the army withdrew from western North Carolina in November 1838, hundreds of Cherokee fugitives came from their mountain hideouts and joined friends and relatives at Qualla Town, forming the nucleus of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
Placed ByThe North Carolina Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, September 6th, 2014 at 4:13pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 289913 N 3929239
Decimal Degrees35.48450000, -83.31580000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 35° 29.07', W 83° 18.948'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds35° 29' 4.20" N, 83° 18' 56.88" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)828
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 564 Tsali Blvd, Cherokee NC 28719, US
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