Thursday, April 17, 2014

Documentary Review: The Trail of Tears: Cherokee Legacy

The Trail of Tears: Cherokee Legacy, Rich Heape Films, Presented by Wes Studi, Narrated by James Earl Jones (2006)
The trail of tears is one of the darkest episodes in American history.  It involved the forced removal of Native American people in the East, to Indian country in Arkansas and Oklahoma.  For the Cherokee this was the forced removal of 14,000 Cherokee.  They had been given to years to move, due to a treaty negotiated between a minority of the Cherokee, and the U.S.  Before the removal, many Cherokee had already passed away during the round up.  Many were kept in a stockade, in less than optimal conditions.  Of those who made the trip, thirteen different groups, taking many different routes from Georgia and Tennessee to the West, 4000 would die on the trip.  Those who most passed away were old people and children,  One commentator mentioned that the arrived in Oklahoma without past and without future.  However they survived.
This movie made effective use of historical reenactment, of the trail, conditions in the stockade, and political conditions.  It tells the story of three murders, of those who signed and negotiated the treaty.  It also tells the story of John Ross, who worked tirelessly to avoid the removal, but his efforts were in vain in the end. 

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