Many white people wanted Native Americans to be removed from their land in the South in the 1830’s out of greed, selfishness, and ignorance. The white people did not understand the Native Americans, and more often than not, they had no desire to get to know them. The missionaries and advocates that supported the Native Americans in keeping their land were not the majority of the society unfortunately. The majority of people were not accustomed to the Native Americans’ ways or beliefs, and thus wanted to see them out of the picture. Even some of the people that saw the Native Americans as being more civilized wanted them gone so that they could attain their lands.
The land that the white people sought to attain was rich in resources, and had gold. Through the need to further settle the land and search for gold, the white people needed to take the land from the Native Americans. They provided an array of excuses that were far from the truth. They stated that the Native Americans would diminish and cease to exist if they did not move. They explained that they were being fair and would trade the land in the south for the land in the west as well as compensate the Native Americans for losses, however, this was far from the truth as well.
The white people were not satisfied with the amount of land they had, and wanted more. They saw the Native Americans as an obstacle to be removed. The federal government sent them to the land in the West, which is now known as Oklahoma under the direction of the President at the time, Andrew Jackson. Through manipulation and lack of strong political opposition, a treaty was signed, and a law passed stating that all Indians living east of the Mississippi River be relocated in the West. The land in the West was not as sought after as the land they removed the Indians from. The soil was not as rich, and nobody was searching for or finding gold there. The expansion of settlers pushed for the more sought after land in the South, so the federal government gave the whites all the land that initially belonged to the Indians.
The trail of tears was a the journey that the Native Americans took from their homelands in the South all the way to Oklahoma under the command of the new president, Martin Van Buren. The Native Americans marched more than 12,000 miles. It is called the Trail of Tears for how treacherous it was, and all that was lost by the Native Americans on the way. Men, women, and children alike were forced from their homes, forced from everything they knew and held dear. They were prisoners marching against their will in the elements. Many died of starvation, disease, exposure, and exhaustion.
It was a dangerous, difficult, deadly journey because it was not well prepared for, welcomed, or warranted. There was no legitimate reason to force so many to march such a long treacherous journey. The journey was not safe, nor was it prepared for. The government sent food and water, but there was not enough. The people were not able to pack essentials they would need on their journey. They were not treated humanely, nor were they given much needed rest. They were forced to keep moving forward even though they were unable to do so.
The new territory awaited the Indians arrival. Many tribes of different backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures were lumped together in the new land. Many of the people died after arriving due to the new diseases they were exposed to. The new land did not have the resources to survive, and the contractors hired to feed the Native Americans were more concerned with trying to get rich. The Native Americans were basically neglected and abandoned in a new land. The Trail of Tears will remain a history lesson for all of time due to the cruelty that took place out of greed and selfishness and will never be forgotten.