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A Trail of Tears

Updated on March 22, 2014

By: Wayne Brown


First they took the Choctaw in 1831 to move to new land in the west

The federal government had decreed, for the Indian they knew best

Westward they walked for days and weeks until reaching the end

Pushed from their lands in the south where the Trail of Tears begins


Next came the Seminole who lost their lands in the year of 1832

Forced to walk the trail westward to a home completely new

Women, children, warriors all pushed with threats and fears

Trudging to a land far from home along the Trail of Tears


1834 came and the Creek Tribes received their final decree

The tribe would join others; never their home again to see

Packed up with all they owned and forced to walk all the way

The Creek struggled across the Trail of Tears day by ugly day


Then it was the Chickasaw in 1837 followed by Cherokee in ‘38

They were the last of the bands and the movement could not wait

Four thousand Cherokee suffered and died along the trail west

The Trail of Tears proved to be the white eye’s cruelest test


Thirst, starvation, despair and disease all took a heavy toll

The Trail took their lives on earth and the Spirit took their soul

Banished out to “no man’s land” beyond the great river’s flow

Taken to a hellish place where only the Trail of Tears could go


Winter’s cold, and smallpox robbed souls all along the way

Death stood before each tribe with the start of each new day

Thousands perished while back home white eyes divided the gain

While thousands forced upon a trail where the tears flowed like rain


Herded into a land where there was barely a tree in sight

Forcibly moved along the trail throughout day on into night

Dying as they walked the trail; suffering the punishment and the fears

Dying slowly of a loss pride as they trudged upon the Trail of Tears


The greed of the white eyes marks the trail upon the soils

Lands taken from the tribal bands for which to share the spoils

Stripped of their home, their lives, took their humble pride

Banished down a Trail of Tears; the white man’s genocide


© Copyright WBrown2011. All Rights Reserved.


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    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Now how can an Indian girl not like a cowboy who thinks like that:). It is so sad, isn't it! James Taylor - I think he remade that song. (Seminole Wind) I saw him and Carol King in concert here about 6 months ago. Fabulous! The Eagles also have a beautiful song about this, I bet you know that! This was up and all that WB!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @RealHousewife...Blow, blow Seminole Wind, blow like you're never gonna blow again....loved that song! This was a sad time in our history. Two of the ugliest aspects of our history as Americans is our treatment of the Native American and the issue of Slavery. Some might argue that slavery was a necessary evil of the times but I don't know that there is a viable argument for what we did to the tribes of North America other than sheer greed. Our repentance should be our willingness to talk about those times and our desire to celebrate the heritage of the Native American. There are days that are just as important as "Black History Month" and "Martin Luther King Day". We do little in that regard...too little. WB

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      I truly loved this - and both videos. You put forth so much effort in your hubs! Those pictures were fantastic. Oh - I am from the Seminole Tribe:-). Thank you.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @gajanis786...Thank you! Between our actions toward the Native Americans and the issue of slavery, we Americans have had more grandiose moments in our history. It is an ugly scar but I suppose it is our scar to bear and it probably never should be forgotten lest we do it again. WB

    • gajanis786 profile image


      7 years ago

      Very good narration again of an important history chapter which is still as painful and sad event for the readers today as it was almost two hundred years ago.Thanks.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @Truckstop Sally...You know what..If I do anything that inspires someone to do something, I will take it as the highest of compliments any day! This is why we are here...inspire each other! WB

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 

      7 years ago

      WB -- I almost hate to admit it because your hub is so important and meaningful, but thinking about Native Americans and the way they thought about their world gave me the idea to use pourquois (why stories) as my latest hub (Turtles). Forgive me my silly story, but thanks for the inspiration. Your hubs always make me think . . . and that is a good thing.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @dahoglund...Andrew Jackson was very instrumental in the process but certainly not alone in carrying it out. Unfortunately, I think the white men of the time looked upon the Indians as mere savages possessing little or no real human attributes thus they could rationalize mistreating them. A sad day. WB

      @Truckstop Sally....Thank you. I have been wanting to write on this subject for a while but could not find the right mix of words. It finally came together for me this weekend. WB

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for a sad but beautiful poem. The Caddos were also forced to Oklahoma from East Texas because the farmland was too good -- and that is after they had experimented with crop rotation.

      I imagine you have seen the End of Trails sculpture at the Natl Cowboy Museum in OK City. Same artist (Fraser) as the buffalo nickel. Both lovely.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I thought the timetable of interest.I am primarily aware of Andrew Jackson's role, which in and of itself was somewhat ambiguous.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @A.A. Zavala...Thank you! You comments are right on. The Native Americans still suffer today in many ways mostly from their broken spirit. WB

      @DML....Thank was a dark time in our history and I have to wonder how the stories surrounding the viscious attacks by the Indians were shaped by the whole thing. WB

      @saddlerider1...Very true, would be nice to have a "do over" on that portion of our past. Thanks much for the good words means a lot! WB

    • saddlerider1 profile image


      7 years ago

      Beautiful videos and brilliant music, however, very sad commentary in poetic form. You are a poet Wayne, give yourself full credit for that, I feel your humbleness as I do mine when I receive accolades. You move people with your writes, therefore you are not only a creative writer, alas a poet as well.

      The plight of the Indian nations both in your country and mine is a historically sad one at best. Thank you for sharing this and getting it out in memory to our native brothers and sisters. peace Amigo

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      7 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Beautiful tribute to proud people. So sad, such a black mark on our history. What a way to thank the natives for thier initial hospitality in the Pilgrim days! Shameful!

      I have a poem along similar lines. I must look it up and post it.

      @Old Poolman--you must remember--"history" is not often the truth--history is written by the victors.

    • A.A. Zavala profile image

      Augustine A Zavala 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Another rivetting hub by the cowboy poet. I had studied about native american tribes in college, and the lingering effects of these forced evictions on the tribes. Many of the after effects still permeate the reservations. Thank you for sharing.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @drbj...Yes, my intent is not to glamorize the event but to say that it did happen and we should learn enough from it that it should never happen again. Thanks much! WB

      @thebluestar...Amen to those comments. My parents raised me to do right by other people first and foremost. It is something that I cannot in good faith turn my back on and that undermines my ability to employ avarice and greed as a basis for my business decisions. That's a good thing but poses no advantages in today's world. That's okay, I sleep good and have lots of friends as well. Thank you so much for the great feedback! WB

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 

      7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      As you say we all have basic instincts, survival of the fittest as you point out and selfishness. Although we believe that many people would support us in every day life, especially all those whom we love, and supposedly love us, and yet how many times are we dissapointed with results. I would like a little bit of humanity and courage seen in many men, the scale of justice does not always need to lower on the fallen side. After all who are we to judge what is correct. Your hub reminds me so much of why I have a conscience, probably why I am a bad business woman but a loyal friend.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      7 years ago from south Florida

      You remind us, Wayne, that we in the United States have been far from being "politically correct" in our history - especially toward the people who were here first - the American Indians.

      This is a beautiful but haunting poem reminding us of our shameful past.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @Ken R Abell...Thank you, Ken...I would tackle that one if I were not so far behind reading what I have in piles now...I need more time! I will keep that one in mind. Thanks. WB

      @Austinstar...So very true...they were herded like cattle and moved on the basis of flawed rationale. Almost every time they were moved it was driven by some level of greed on the part of the white men ranging from just wanting the lands to finding gold and oil. Democracy tends to work in the other direction...common thinkers form groups willing to compromise for the common good. Our problem today in America is everyone seems to want to be someone else first and an American second...Thanks WB

      @Geena East...Oh yes, you can dress your hubs in high fashion if you so choose just using those little extra box options at the top right hand side. I find that adding music is a nice touch to finding the tone of the story. Ken Abell also mentioned that same book above in his comments. I have to put it on my readin list. WB

      @DIYWeddingPlanner...That was a smart move by your parents. In today's world, it seems everyone wants to sweep our true history under the carpet. Of course, this part of it suits their needs to shame the American. Not that we earned any points for our actions back then but we did learn from it and in that light it is important that others study it. I think it is ironic that the Native Americans are now building casinos everywhere and taking their money back from the white man! LOL! WB

      @breakfastpop....The Native Americans were shamed and humble to the point of destroying their pride and self-esteem. Tribes still suffer those feelings and losses even today and are left feeling like less than citizens of a country they rightly owned in the beginning. The ugliness of humanity comes to the surface when greed and avarice become the motivations.

      @Joni Douglas...You are so right. How could so much evil and so much good come literally from the same place. In our hearts, I think most of us are driven by the good but greed brings forth and rationalizes evil. Maybe one day we will find the balance. Thanks for the great comments. WB

      @thebluestar...In nature there is the natural instinct of survival of the fittest. Mankind does not have to depend on that instinct yet there is evidence that he does. WB

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 

      7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Brilliant!!! Sad, lovely, beautiful lyrics. The one animal in the world I fear is man. We have so much to answer for. Cruelty to each other that you would never find in any other breed. Loved it, well done

    • Joni Douglas profile image

      Joni Douglas 

      7 years ago

      Well Done Wayne. Man can be ruthless with one hand and so very loving with other. If we can ever get them to work in tandem, we might get somewhere.

    • breakfastpop profile image


      7 years ago

      Very moving tribute to a people who were treated so shamefully. In the 60's I had to write a paper about a "disadvantaged" group of people. Almost the entire class wrote about African Americans. I wrote about the American Indian and what I learned about their treatment still haunts me. Well done. Voted up and awesome.

    • DIYweddingplanner profile image


      7 years ago from South Carolina, USA

      Great job! My parents used to take us every year to an outdoor drama called "Unto These Hills" in North Carolina. They wanted us to know the real American history since we have Cherokee on both sides of the family. I think alot of people are still not aware of how shamefully Native Americans wete treated.

    • DIYweddingplanner profile image


      7 years ago from South Carolina, USA

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I love this Wayne...also the music. One of the greatest books I have ever read was "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee." I think it should be required reading in the public school system.

      I didn't know we could add music to our hubs. thank you!

    • Austinstar profile image


      7 years ago from Somewhere near the center of Texas

      Oklahoma is still the stepchild state of the union. Mostly because of all the outcast Native American tribes being forced to live there still.

      The trail of tears was just like herding cattle which is something the white eyes did very well. Along with shooting buffalo.

      Did we really learn anything, Wayne? Aren't we still trying to herd people into groups? And force "democracy" onto all we see? How's that working out for us?

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 

      7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Thank you for history in brilliant poetry. Well done.

      I recently read an anniversary edition of "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee". An exceptional read--westward expansion from the Indian perspective.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @Pamela N Red...Yes we should we remember...a great lesson for us all. WB

      @WillStarr...Thanks Will, I appreciate the confidence! WB

      @Partisan Patriot...Hey, I told you that we could critic one another...thanks for getting it started! WB

      @Old Poolman...We have some dark moments in our past but I think we learned least some of us did. WB

      @mckbirdks...Wow! Thanks for those great words. I really try to my my stuff high quality. I am not a very good poet so I have to pray when I write these. I appreciate the fact that you appreciate it! WB

      @K Burns Darling...History works well with poetry once you understand the picture. Poetry limits the word so you only get to use those that were important to the event. I think that is the reason that I seek it out. Thank you for the encouragement! WB

    • K. Burns Darling profile image

      Kristen Burns-Darling 

      7 years ago from Orange County, California

      Wayne...Bravo! Another awesome poetic portrayal of history! I think you should really consider a history book of poetry and prose! I loved this, my grandmother's mother was a child who lost her mother on the Trail of Tears. Beautifully Done!

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      7 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      You produce quality work, at a remarkable pace.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 

      7 years ago

      Wayne, this was interesting and well done. It is interesting there is not much about this in the history books. Perhaps we are somewhat ashamed of this action by our government?

    • profile image

      Partisan Patriot 

      7 years ago

      wow Wayne; Great tribute to our native American Heritage; I guess we were not always the good guy!Rated up and awesome

    • WillStarr profile image


      7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Well done Wayne.

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma

      Great tribute to the First People. I am Cherokee and Choctaw. We should always remember.


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