Opening Events for The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail Held in Two States

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In 1838, the United States government forcibly removed more than 16,000 Cherokee Indian people from their homelands in Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, and Georgia, and sent them to Indian Territory—a place we now call Oklahoma. Both the route they followed and the experience itself are known as the Trail of Tears, and they are commemorated by The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.

The Trail covers thousands of miles of land and water routes in parts of nine states (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Tennessee) and "was designated to preserve the story, the routes, and support the associated sites that commemorate the Cherokees' forced migration." Much of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail is on waterways. People were moved onto boats and traveled along the Mississippi River, and then disembarked and walked.

The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail isn't a single, contiguous route managed by a one agency, but a cooperative effort by number of federal, state and local agencies, organizations, tribes, and private individuals to administer sites that are either along the original route or which have exhibits or other information about the migration....

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