"The Trail of Tears was a tragedy for a progressive and independent people whose population was markedly decreased as a result of the hardships associated with lengthy confinements and a lengthy arduous journey. The forced Removal left an indelible impression on the Cherokee psyche and is today still regarded as the most significant event in Cherokee history.
The politics of Removal continue to be debated and the advisability challenged. More than a century and a half after the event we are still struggling to understand why it happened, how it affected the people involved and how it changed the future of American politics, thought, and justice. The Removal has given rise to myths, legends, and public perceptions, which continue to weigh heavily on the American conscience."
Duane H. King, Ph.D.
Vice President of Museum Affairs and Executive Director
Gilcrease The Museum of the Americas 2008
"How do we ever prevent the greed and lust for power from causing another Trail of Tears? How do we encourage the generations of people who are not familiar with the story of the Trail of Tears to learn and not forget? This homeland was wrongfully taken from us by a political mob mentality that belied logic, law, and humanity."
"The Trail of Tears is not an episode of defeat. We are a people who have faced adversity, survived, adapted, and who now prosper and excel. We are not victims unless we choose to be. Our ancestors paid dearly on the Trail of Tears. This legacy should inspire us to achieve the highest levels of excellence and prosperity and lead us to be healthy and happy."
Principal Chief Chadwick Smith, Cherokee Nation, 2008