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Under the Cherokee Indian Removal Act of 1838, the tribe was forced to leave the fertile and scenic Smoky Mountains and migrate to a barren area of Oklahoma. President Andrew Jackson signed the Act, which was opposed by Senator Davy Crockett.
ceremonial drums' rhythmic heartbeat
impassioned tribal chants
echo in Smoky Mountain mist before dawn
tortured spirit of an ignoble president
Andrew Jackson seems imprisoned here
haunted by wailing ghosts of tribe members
too old to meet Jackson's mandate
rise up, carry all you own
except your memories, your hopes
abandon graves of your ancestors
trek the "Trail of Tears" to a barren land
restless are the rising souls
natives who passed the pipe, welcomed whites
campers still report sightings
spirits walking and wailing from dusk till daybreak
specters bearing blood-spattered treaties
mingle in the Smoky Mountain mist
created by Cherokee tears
*Written November 20, 2018
For Line Gauthier's "Tribute to Native Cultures"
Copyright © Carolyn Devonshire | Year Posted 2018