Amy Sturgis is a professor of interdisciplinary‐​studies at Lenoir‐​Rhyne University and the Mythgard Institute specializing in the fields of Science Fiction/​Fantasy and Native American Studies. Sturgis is the author of four books related to U.S. presidential and Native American history, including The Trail of Tears and Indian Removal and Presidents from Washington through Monroe.

Poet, essayist, and lecturer Ralph Waldo Emerson argued in an 1838 letter to President Martin Van Buren that the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation from its land in Georgia to modern‐​day Oklahoma was wrong. Emerson’s was one of many voices protesting the government’s treatment of the Cherokee people. This extended excerpt from his letter, read by Professor Amy Sturgis, demonstrates that people at the time were aware that what the U.S. government proposed to do was a grave injustice and should not have happened. Emerson’s and others’ protests fell on deaf ears. The forced removal of the Cherokee Nation became known as the Trail of Tears and remains a blemish on U.S. history.

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