OKLAHOMA CITY – As the anniversary approaches, a local artist brings the Trail of Tears to the Capitol.
The State Senate unveiled “The Trail of Tears” Monday afternoon in the Senate Chamber.
According to the state Senate, the landscape, by artist Wayne Cooper is sponsored by Cherokee Nation businesses and Principal Chief Bill John Baker.
The U.S. government decided to remove the Cherokees from northern Georgia on May 24, 1838 after gold was discovered in the area.
The U.S. Government used the Treat of New Echota in 1835 to justify the removal.
The treaty, signed by around 100 Cherokees known as the Treaty Party, relinquished all lands east of the Mississippi River in Exchange for land in Indian Territory and the promise of money, livestock, various provisions, tools and other benefits.
Almost all of the 17,000 Cherokees were then forced from their southeastern homeland and taken by boat to Indian Territory.
An estimated 4,000 died of hunger, exposure and disease.
The journey became a cultural memory as the “trail where they cried” for the Cherokees and other removed tribes and is today known as “The Trail of Tears.”
The tribe recognizes this year as the 175th anniversary of the Trail of Tears.
The “Trail of Tears” painting is the 151st project of the Oklahoma State Historical Preservation Fund.