So what became of the once grand Cherokee nation? In 1830, the United States Congress passed the Indian Removal Act. The government of the United States wanted to move Native Americans from land in the southeast to "Indian Territory" in Oklahoma. The lands of the Cherokee and other tribes were valuable to white settlers who wanted to farm, hunt and graze animals. The Cherokee tried to live among the settlers, but the Indian Removal Act made their removal an act of law. The Trail of Tears began in 1838.
Painting by Robert Lindneux