GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK May 2000
The drive from Asheville to Great Smoky Mountains National Park took us to the Blue Ridge Parkway which we are hoping to have time to travel at greater length. The park entrance is reached after going through a large Cherokee Reservation which was the origination point for the Cherokee Trail of Tears. In 1830 President Andrew Jackson signed the Removal Act, to relocate native peoples east of the Mississippi to Oklahoma. In 1828 gold was discovered in the hills, and ten years later 13,000 Cherokee were marched to Oklahoma. About one-third died en route of malnutrition and disease. Those who survived the journey to Oklahoma are known as the Western Band. Descendants of those who hid in the Great Smoky Mountains to avoid removal are known as the Eastern Band.