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Cherokees Book for children

Why Did Cherokees Move West:

And Other Questions about the Trail of Tears

by Judith P. Josephson

Cherokee Indian villages once covered parts of several states in the southeastern United States. Cherokees were a proud people, with their own written language and customs. On May 26, 1838, U.S. soldiers surrounded Cherokee Indian villages. The soldiers had come to force the Cherokees to move to a new territory farther west. People had little time to gather their belongings before being herded into camps. From there, 13,000 Cherokees were forced to walk one thousand miles to Oklahoma, where they had been promised a new place to live. Under the watchful eyes of soldiers, Cherokees traveled some 10 to 20 miles a day, with had little food and no shelter from the harsh winter weather. Many people—especially children—grew sick and died. Cherokees called this forced march nunna-dual-tsuny, meaning the Trail Where They Cried. It is also known as the Trail of Tears. One Georgia soldier said, "The Cherokee removal was the cruelest work I ever knew."

Find answers to questions such as, "Who were the Cherokees?" "Why did the U.S. government make them leave their homeland?" "What happened on the Trail of Tears?" and "How did life change when Cherokees reached Oklahoma?" Also find websites, activities, and other books about Cherokees.

See what St. Kieran School in San Diego did to show the Cherokee Trail of Tears.

St. Kieran School Project
St. Kieran class map of Cherokee Trail of Tears
Winner, San Diego Book Awards, "Best Children's Nonfiction"


"The six questions are clearly stated and are the guiding questions for its chapters. Author includes sufficient background and enough detail to answer the queries. Sidebars, quotes, primary-source excerpts, and period art and contemporary photos augment the text. The question-and-answer format will help readers identify and understand the topic's most salient aspects and will sharpen their nonfiction reading skills."

— School Library Journal

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