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The struggle for land and sovereignty has been an important theme in Native American history. In the aftermath of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, signed by President Andrew Jackson, the United States government forced sovereign Indian nations to give up their homelands and move to lands in the West. The removal of the Cherokee in 1838, along a route known as the “Trail of Tears,” was one of the most brutal examples of this devastating policy.
Items within this Case

[Andrew Jackson as The Great Father], lithograph. ca. 1835.

One of the most-requested images in the collection, this is the only known copy of an engraving from the 1830s depicting Andrew Jackson as the Great Father.

Jackson vigorously pursued the policy of removal that forced eastern Indian nations to move west of the Mississippi in the 1830s.  Opponents of removal mocked Jackson’s professed compassion for Native Americans by depicting him as a paternal figure comforting Indian “children.”

United States, Map Showing the Lands Assigned to Emigrant Indians West of Arkansas & Missouri. Washington: War Department, 1836.

This map from the James Thomas Papers shows lands allocated to Native American nations relocated from the eastern United States. It documents the forced relocation of many Native American groups to what would become Oklahoma.

Cherokee Phoenix & Indians’ Advocate. Vol. III, no. 51. New Echota: Saturday, June 4, 1831.

Languages: Cherokee (Tsalagi) and English.

This is a rare example of the first Native American newspaper printed in the United States. The Cherokee Phoenix was originally published from 1828 to 1834 by the Cherokee Nation in New Echota, Georgia. It featured adjacent columns of Cherokee and English text and went to subscribers throughout the United States.