Cherokees remember 'The Trail Where We Cried'

The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma requires all employees to take a course on tribal history to make sure they learn about the Trail of Tears.

In the Cherokee language, the removal of the Cherokees to Oklahoma is known as nvnadaulatsvyi, or "The Trail Where We Cried." Thousands were forced from their homes in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama. About 4,000 men, women and children died along the way.

"We always heard stories growing up,” Bobbie Gail Smith, the wife of Cherokee Chief Chad Smith, told The Oklahoman. "You think about someone losing a child on the trail, and you get to talking about it. ... Then you realize we truly came out of darkness."

Chief Smith often teaches the final part of the course in order to tie the past to the tribe's present and future. "It's easy to get angry,” he told the paper. "But you can't live with anger and hate.”

Get the Story:
Cherokee story has roots in sorrow (The Oklahoman 12/3)

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