Monday, March 24, 2003


We took a family trip to Cherokee, North Carolina (actually we stayed in Franklin). There aren't that many interesting attractions in Cherokee, particularly in the winter when some are closed, but the Museum of the Cherokee Indian is excellent and the countryside is beautiful. On the way home we stopped at all the waterfalls along our route.

The museum is very moving. I had only a general sense of the Trail of Tears: the story of the Cherokee removal from their land in North Carolina and Georgia to Oklahoma. What I had never thought about or known, is that the Cherokee were deeply divided about how to fight their removal from their land. Some worked to use the U.S. legal and political system to protect themselves, with some successes and near successes. A minority party felt that the best approach was to agree to removal and negotiate the best possible deal, and the U.S. government took them as speaking for the Cherokee nation. Some fought with weapons and a small group did hide out successfully. I'm struck by how much those frustrations and divisions must have hurt, on top of the physical suffering of the Trail of Tears.

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