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The map at the right shows the size of the lands occupied by the Cherokee people at the time of first contact with Europeans.

We were quite probably the largest group of Native Americans. Accounts in the records from the expeditions of explorer Hernando De Soto estimated the number of cherokee to be 500,000 strong and even that estimate may have been conservative, based upon the average number of people per village times the number of villages. Not taking into acount those who chose not to live in the villages.

But this quickly changed once our people were exposed to the deadly contamination of the Europeans.
Laden with such diseases as cholera and small pox, diseases to which Native Americans had no immunities,Our populaces were soon desimated.

Although this had an effect on all the indigenous
peoples of the Americas, The cherokee, who were a very socialable people gentle in spirit, and who had been very open to these new people and had interacted with them to a considerable degree. As a result our exposure was quite extensive.

The illnesses ravaged our people. There was nothing our people who were knowledgable of roots and medicines could do.

After the settling of these new people into their colonies. Thru negotiations thru out the subsequent years for more lands for settlement purposes and for minerals rights (gold and silver). The Cherokee were
continouslly crowded into a smaller and smaller area.

This was also partially motivated out of a fear of the Cherokee people. All tho for the most part we had been peacable with the colonials,
because of our numbers and our campaigns of defense against other tribes we occasionaly had conflicts with made them feel insecure with us being so near.

Eventually in 1828 President Andrew Jackson signed into law the Indian Removal Act. A despisable act in the eyes of the Cherokee, considering the fact that the very life of this president had been saved by a cherokee warrior earlier in his life.

To many of us this was a clear indication of how honorable any future negotiations with this " United States" goverment would go. In 1838 the Indian removal act was ratified and was excecuted by General Winfield Scott. What Cherokees that could be were rounded up, sometimes with only what clothes they had on their backs, and hurded into stockades. Where, when enough were collected, they were marched away from these lands of their ancestors to make the long trek to the barren lands of the oklahoma territory.

A trip which many did not survive. We call this The Trail of Tears. Or the Trail were they cried.

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