In this video segment adapted from American Experience: "We Shall Remain," reenactments help tell the story of how the Cherokee people were forced from their lands in the southeast. The U.S. government initially promised the Cherokee and other Native American tribes that if they could assimilate into European Americans lifestyles, they would be considered equals. But a new movement in the late 1820s, supported by President Andrew Jackson, promoted removal of Native Americans from the eastern U.S. The Indian Removal Act, passed in 1830, called for the tribes to leave peacefully. Feeling that removal from their own lands was not an option, the vast majority of people stayed. When the deadline to leave passed, federal troops and state militia forcefully assembled the Cherokee people, letting them take nothing but the clothes on their backs, and made them march an 850-mile trek to new lands. Many died on this march, known as the Trail of Tears, which lasted through one of the hardest winters the region had ever experienced.
This media asset was adapted from American Experience: "We Shall Remain: Trail of Tears".