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In the early nineteenth century, the U.S. government shifted its policy from trying to assimilate American Indians to relocating them, and proceeded to forcibly drive seventeen thousand Cherokees from their homelands. This journey of exile became known as the Trail of Tears. Historians Perdue and Green reveal the government’s betrayals and the divisions within the Cherokee Nation, follow the exiles along the Trail of Tears, and chronicle the hardships found in the West. In its trauma and tragedy, the Cherokee diaspora has come to represent the irreparable injustice done to Native Americans in the name of nation building—and in their determined survival, it represents the resilience of the Native American spirit.
THEDA PERDUE , Ph.D. , formerly was president of the American Society for Ethnohistory. She is a professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has been appointed to a Guggenheim fellowship. MICHAEL D. GREEN , Ph.D. , is a professor of history and American studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.