By Ruth Margaret Muskrat
In the night they shriek and moan,
In the dark the tall pines moan
As they guard the dismal trail.
The Cherokees say it is the groan,
Every shriek and echoed groan
Of their forefathers that fell
With broken hopes and bitter fears
On that weary trail of tears.
Broken hopes and broken hearts,
A quivering mass of broken hearts
Were driven over the trail.
Stifling back the groan that starts
Smothering back the moan that
Full four thousand fell;
But still the Great Spirit his people
As they travel the trail of tears.
From the homes their fathers made
From the graves the tall trees shade
For the sake of greed and gold,
The Cherokees were forced to go
To a land they did not know;
And Father Time or wisdom old
Cannot erase, through endless years
The memory of the trail of tears.
In 1838 and 1839, as part
of Andrew Jackson's Indian removal policy (Indian Removal Act of 1830), the
Cherokee nation was forced to give up its lands east of the Mississippi River
and to migrate to an area in present-day
 Recent research by Cherokee scholars estimates that around 1,100 Cherokees died during removal.