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Cherokee group retraces ‘Trail of Tears’

CHATSWORTH, Ga. — Even though the peoples of the Cherokee Nation no longer call Georgia home, the imprint of their culture and heritage remain embedded in the map of the state.

Conasauga. Ogeechee. Ocmulgee. Altamaha. Oconee. Chattahoochee. Coahuila.

The rivers of the state hearken back to the indigenous peoples of the area who called Georgia home long before James Edward Oglethorpe landed at Savannah in 1733 and proclaimed a new colony in honor of an English king. A little over 100 years after the colonists arrived, the peoples of the Cherokee Nation were forced to leave the state on the 950-mile journey and relocate in Oklahoma.

The journey began at New Echota and of the estimated 16,000 Cherokee who were rounded up and made to leave their homelands, an estimated 4,000 died due to starvation, exposure and disease. And when the survivors reached their new lands, they continued to build and expand and nourish their culture.

On Sunday, 17 bicycle riders — chosen from both the Eastern band of the Nation in North Carolina and the Western band from Oklahoma — gathered around the monument at New Echota south of Resaca and began retracing the route their ancestors were forced to make in the summer of 1838.

Read entire article at Compton Herald