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  • John Ross, Father of the Cherokee Nation

    From 1828 to 1860, the Cherokee people were led by the remarkable Native American John Ross. Ross presided over the birth of Cherokee Nation, the removal of his people from their homeland, and the founding of a new nation in a distant place.

    Support Materials

    Discuss

    1. How did John Ross' dealings with the United States government impact the organization of the Cherokee Nation?

    2. Describe how the Cherokee Nation was impacted by the Indian Removal Act of 1830. 

    Expansion

    1. Debate: Should the United States government allow descendants of the Cherokee Nation to reclaim their original territories in Georgia?

    2. Use GPB's Cherokee Nation virtual field trip to learn more about John Ross and the Cherokee Nation. 

    Vocabulary

    chief: the person who is the leader of a group of people, of an organization, etc.
    homeland: a usually large area where a particular group of people can live
    The Trail of Tears: a series of forced removals of Native American nations from their ancestral homelands in the Southeastern United States to an area west of the Mississippi River that had been designated as Indian Territory

    For Teachers

    Discussion Guide

    1. How did John Ross' dealings with the United States government impact the organization of the Cherokee Nation?
    Founder and chief of the Cherokee Nation, John Ross took elements of the United States government to structure the new Cherokee Nation. It had a constitution, government, and court system similar to the United States. The goal was to preserve the lives of Cherokees by adopting many of the customs and laws of whites. 

    2. Describe how the Cherokee Nation was impacted by the Indian Removal Act of 1830.
    The Indian Removal Act of 1830 gave the United States government legal authority to evict Native Americans from Georgia and distribute the land to whites through lotteries. Like other Native American groups, Cherokees were forced from their native homeland to Oklahoma in an event known as the Trail of Tears. 

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