Christine A. Elmore
Manifest Destiny had by now taken a strong foothold in the country and the westward expansion of the white settlers continued. This unstoppable force, along with the building of railroads, took even more of their land away from the Cherokee Nation. As Remini relays in his aforementioned book, “When the American people were ready to move again, across and beyond the Mississippi the Indians were forced once more to get out of the way” (p. 119).
Against great odds, the Cherokee people built their nation back up from scratch with almost 300,00 members worldwide and 70,000 living in northeastern Oklahoma, and are currently the second largest Native American tribe in the country. There is no happy ending to be found here except in appreciation of the resilience and courage of the Cherokee people as they continue to live in this country of ours. As Gayle Ross, a direct descendant of Chief John Ross, maintains, “It is a story of a people who did everything in their power to assert their rights. And still, it came to nothing, in the face of greed. And that’s an important lesson” She continues, “We have survived a lot, as a people. But we are still here. We are still Cherokee. We have kept the flame burning” (quoted in Smith’s book, pp. 270-271).