The Trail of Tears was one of the biggest challenges that the Choctaw had to endure that was brought on by the United States. During the Trail of Tears, the Choctaw were forced to walk from there home in the American southeast to the new Indian Territory in Oklahoma. The purpose of the Trail of Tears was for the United States to gain land in the area where the Choctaw lived. During the walk, many Choctaw died. The Trail of Tears had a major negative impact on the Choctaw.
The Choctaw Trail of Tears started because of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1831. This treaty was created by the United States and stated that All Choctaw must walk on the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma. However, if people wanted to stay in their homes, they could become US citizens, but not many Native Americans could do this. In the end, most of the Choctaw began the walk on the Trail of Tears.
In order to encourage the Choctaw to take the trail to the new territory, the Americans, offered $10 in gold, a rifle, and a three-month supply of powder and ammunition. They would also have a guide to lead them to the new territory. About 300 Choctaw agreed to this and began on the trail in the fall of 1831.
Eventually, about 15000 Choctaw started the Trail because of the Europeans making them leave. Only 5,000-6,000 Choctaw stayed in their homes. Out of the 15,000 Choctaw who went on the train, about 2,500 died. One of the main reasons for this was very cold temperatures. Also, the guides who took the Choctaw on the trail were not very skilled.
During the walk, heavy rains resulted in intense flooding. The Americans were originally using wagons to transport themselves and the Choctaw to the Indian Territory. However, after these floods, the wagons could not be used. Because of this, the Americans used steamboats. To order the steamboats, there was a long wait for the Choctaw and some died during this period because of food shortages. Eventually, five steamboats arrived and the journey resumed.
After the floods were over, a blizzard hit. At this point, many people did not have good clothing and were not protected from the cold. Also, the food supply depleted very quickly, which resulted in the rations being cut down to some corn, a turnip, and some water each day. A military post in Arkansas provided 60 tents for the Choctaw to stay in during the blizzard. About 2,000 Choctaw stayed in these tents.
During this time, the Choctaw were staying near the Arkansas River. After a few days of the weather being below freezing, the River froze. At this point, wagons were sent from Little Rock to the Choctaw. The Americans began to take the Choctaw to Fort Smith, Arkansas. Before this, though, many people had frozen to death or died of pneumonia. From Fort Smith, the Choctaw continued on to Little Rock. In Little Rock, a Choctaw chief claimed that the journey had been a trail of tears and death. Because of this, people started referring to the walk as the Trail of Tears.
Later on, after traveling on the wagons for a few weeks, diseases spread through the Choctaw. This also resulted in many deaths. After the disease stopped spreading, the Choctaw moved on and eventually established a town in Arkansas. at this time, the Choctaws began to spread out more and separate from each other. Some went south and others went west.
In April 1832, the Choctaw named their town Skullyville. At this time, almost 2000 of the Choctaw who had started on the trail from Mississippi had died. After a few months, there were not many Choctaw left in Skullyville.The Choctaw were mostly continuing on the trail. They eventually passed into Oklahoma, where they would have to live.
Overall, the Trail of Tears was a very negative and harmful experience for the Choctaw. Over time, the Choctaw population declined because of disease and poor food and shelter. The Trail of Tears was a very long journey for the Choctaw. The only reason for this was that the United States wanted a large amount of land and forcibly moved the Choctaw to Oklahoma. The Trail of Tears definitely impacted the Choctaw.