Naming their children after fathers rather than mothers
Using a written language
Forming a government with written laws
The Cherokee tried to show white settlers that they were good neighbors and good citizens.
Cherokee even fought alongside U.S. soldiers in the Indian wars that took place during the War
of 1812. When gold was discovered in northern Georgia, things changed. Soon, the Cherokee
would be forced from their land entirely.
The Treaty of New Echota
Some Cherokee feared that if they did not agree to move West, their poor treatment would
continue. In 1836, government officials and a small number of Cherokee leaders signed the
Treaty of New Echota. The leaders promised to move the Cherokee tribe to Oklahoma within two
years. The treaty divided the Cherokee. While some supported the treaty, most, including John
Ross, did not want to leave their land.
The Cherokee have been forced to leave their homes and gather in northern Georgia and eastern
Tennessee. From there, the tribal leaders will organize the tribe into smaller groups and begin
the move west. In October, Nunadautsun't — "the trail where we cried" — will begin.
Jobs Along the Trail
Everyone along the trail had a job. The chief mapped the route and dealt with the army. The
hunters supplied meat. The women cooked and cared for the children. The soldiers helped the
hunters and guided the groups. Some soldiers were friendly with the Cherokee. Still, all were
responsible to the U.S. government.
Today the Cherokee Nation continues to have a government-to-government relationship with
the United States. Oklahoma Cherokee are American citizens. Their government is separate from
the state government, and they have their own police force. The capital city, Tahlequah, has a
population of 15,000. The modern Cherokee Nation has 156,000 members.