What is the impact now because of The Trail of Tears? 

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Trail of Tears still has an impact on us today. In the 1830s, many tribes were forced to relocate to the area west of the Mississippi River as part of the Indian Removal Act. The Trail of Tears describes the very difficult move many Native American tribes were forced to make. Many Native Americans died as a result of the relocation. While the Trail of Tears is often used in reference to the Cherokee tribe, it describes the movement and its effects on many Native American tribes.

One current impact from the Trail of Tears is a distrust of the government by many Native American people. The Cherokee people won a Supreme Court ruling that allowed them to stay in Georgia. However, President Andrew Jackson refused to enforce this decision. Eventually, the Cherokee were forced to relocate. Because of this situation along with many other instances of poor treatment and deception, the Native Americans have very little trust in the federal government. Native American policies have changed often, and, in most cases, the needs of the Native Americans weren’t considered.

Another current impact is that the size of Native American tribes is smaller because there was so much death associated with the Trail of Tears. Many Native Americans died as they were being moved to the West. When they got to the West, the also died from diseases for which they had no immunities. There were many battles with the United States Army, which led to more death. Because there was so much death related to the Trail of Tears and the events after it, the size of the various tribes is lower than what it would have been if all this death hadn’t occurred.

The effects of the Trail of Tears still have an impact on Native Americans to the present day. This also impacts the rest of the country to some degree.

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