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The real Trail of Tears

Today, while reading The Union, I was drawn to your headlines under the Outdoors Section (B). I was dismayed that the title of the article written by Laura Brown, ‘Trail of tears,’ referred to a portion of a mountain bike ride. The bike riders can refer to portions of rides any way they choose, but, I believe, Laura Brown titling her article ‘Trail of tears’ dishonors what most historians know as the original “Trail of Tears.”

For those of you not aware, around 1838, the U.S. Army began the invasion of the Cherokee Nation. This invasion (originating in the State of Georgia) was not to remove “savage” Indians. The Cherokees were not nomadic savages. In fact they had assimilated many European styles into their lives. They had built churches, roads and schools. Many were cattle ranchers and farmers.

They also had their own representational government. But, gold was discovered in the North Georgia mountains. So, in 1830 the U.S. Congress passed the “Indian Removal Act.” Men, women and children were driven from their land, herded into makeshift forts, with minimal facilities and food, and then forced to march a thousand miles, under mostly uncaring army commanders. More than 4,000 Cherokee died as a result of the forced removal. The route they traversed, and the journey itself, became known as “The Trail of Tears.” This is a sad part of our history and deserves respect and is to not be plagiarized by a reporter writing an article about a bike trail.



G. Phillips

Grass Valley




Editor’s Note: Reporters do not write the headlines for their stories. Editors write the headlines.


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