This is part one of a fascinating story about two British adventurers who in 2019 followed a route which consisted of a 900 mile paddle and 400 miles walk in the footsteps of a piece of shameful American history.
Although it is a story and a piece of history we in Europe know nothing about, it has similarities to some of our own shameful activities which also took place in the 1830’s.
The weather wasn’t kind to them however as the story unfolds you will see that they at least were prepared and aware of their choices, whereas the original American Indians, in particular the Cherokee, were forcefully repatriated at gunpoint in the harshest of winters.
Of the estimated 100,000 indigenous people forced from their homes during that period, which is sometimes known as the removal era, some 15,000 died during the journey west.
Trail of Tears, in U.S. history, the forced relocation during the 1830s of Eastern Woodlands Indians of the Southeast region of the United States (including Cherokee, Creek, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole, among other nations) to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River.
Held in miserable internment camps for days or weeks before their journeys began, many became ill, and most were very poorly equipped for the arduous trip. Those who took the river route were loaded onto boats in which they traveled parts of the Tennessee, Ohio, Mississippi, and Arkansas rivers, eventually arriving at Fort Gibson in Indian Territory.
Not until then did the survivors receive much-needed food and supplies. Perhaps 4,000 of the estimated 15,000 Cherokee died on the journey, while some 1,000 avoided internment and built communities in North Carolina.