The Saga of Young Bear


A Story of the Cherokee Removal as it might have been seen through the eyes of a seven year old boy


The Cherokee Removal ---- The betrayal of the Cherokee by Old Hickory ---- The walk west ---- The Trail of Tears ----
Call it what you wish, It was the death of over three thousand souls. There are many who say the number was much less then this. I can believe the records show a much smaller number. But I have to believe that smaller number was not the truth. There were so many who perished on the trail west I think the government purposely recorded a smaller number. It was the shame of all time. When the traditional Chiefs would not sell the homeland the government simply recognized others as the rightful leaders, men who would deal with the white politicians, cronies of Andrew Jackson. The shame of it all was the very people who fought the British at the battle of New Orleans and helped insure the continued freedom of this country were betrayed. Without this help general Jackson would very likely have lost the battle to the British. At a later time one of the Cherokees, Junaluska, saved the general's life when a Creek warrior had treacherously tried to kill him. Now the heroes of this great battle were no longer fit to live among the whites. They must go live west of the Mississippi River---- In the waste land of Oklahoma, The place called Indian territory, a land no one wanted. A placed then classed as a good for nothing desert. The Cherokee were rounded up like cattle and driven before the army like criminals. Why were they treated this way? No one knows for sure. There have been many reasons given. That the white man wanted the land is not valid. For the most part, the land is still mostly uninhabited. It is not the best farm land in the country. It is mostly hills and mountains. Could it be that a small bit of gold had been found in the area? If you take a drive through these hills and mountains you will see some of the most beautiful scenery to be found anywhere. You will understand why the Cherokee loved this land so much.

One reason for the removal seems plausible has been given. General Jackson no longer needed the Cherokee. For some years he had a Cherokee mistress even though he had a white wife back in 'civilization'. He had children with his Cherokee mistress. This situation was becoming a political embarrassment to him. What better way to rid himself of the embarrassment then to send them to the west, to a virtually unpopulated part of the country? Any reason you can think of is steeped in fear and greed. Regardless of the reasons, the tribes east of the Mississippi River were gathered up. They were herded like cattle, moving west. Those who owned real property were paid only a mere pittance for the property and had no choice except to accept it. The army moving them west was not equipped for the job. The military had barely enough food to feed the soldiers. There was certainly not enough to feed several thousand Native Americans. The weather was bad when they left Red Clay. It turned cold. There not enough blankets. There was not enough food. There was no medicine for the sick. First the very young died. Then they were joined by the elderly. After a time of little food and no blankets to protect against the cold even those who had started out healthy began to die. The white soldiers sickened and some of them died. Some of the white soldiers even cried for the Cherokee. Rather then see them treated in such a cruel way some of them deserted. They ran away from the army. Mothers watched their small children die from the cold, from not enough food, from exhaustion. Some of the people died from frustration and hopelessness. A husband would watch his wife die a little each day from cold, hunger, and exhaustion. A wife would watch her husband die simply because he no longer wanted to live and see wife and children so hungry, and cold, and tired and not be able to do anything about it. Many ran away, trying to turn back to the mountains, back to their homes. Many were caught but many were not. It was a long, cold, and hungry, trip back. They could count on help from no one. They traveled mostly by night. Some made it back to the mountains. Some did not. But, they were masters of their own destiny. This story is dedicated to those who made the trip, To those who ran away and returned to the mountains.
But mostly it is dedicated to the memory of those people who only made part of the trip, Those whose remains lie in the shallow, unmarked graves that dot the trail to Oklahoma.

The trail that we now refer to as--------- The Trail of Tears.

The Capture

The Saga of Young Bear is a copyrighted creation of Dick One Eagle AKA Comanche.
This story may not be copied or used in any way without the express written permission of the author.