American Experience (1988– )
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We Shall Remain: Part III - Trail of Tears 

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The Cherokee would call it Nu-No-Du-Na Tlo-Hi-Lu, "The Trail Where They Cried." On May 26, 1838, federal troops forced thousands of Cherokee from their homes in the Southeastern United ... See full summary »


Chris Eyre


Mark Zwonitzer





Episode credited cast:
Jackson Walker ... Daniel Ross
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Elijah Abdullah Elijah Abdullah ... Slave
Thomas N. Belt Thomas N. Belt ... Self
Josh Blaylock ... Young John Ross
Benjamin Bratt ... Narrator (voice)
Carla-Rae ... Suzanna Ridge (as Carla-Rae Holland)
Cleo Deerinwater Cleo Deerinwater
Kelly Finley ... Sara
William J. Finley ... Elias Boudinot (as Will Finley)
Ken Foster Ken Foster
Wesley French ... John Ridge
Robert Girty Robert Girty
Aaron Hair Aaron Hair
Andrew Hair Andrew Hair
Jack Harkleroad Jack Harkleroad


The Cherokee would call it Nu-No-Du-Na Tlo-Hi-Lu, "The Trail Where They Cried." On May 26, 1838, federal troops forced thousands of Cherokee from their homes in the Southeastern United States, driving them toward Indian Territory in Eastern Oklahoma. More than 4,000 died of disease and starvation along the way. For years the Cherokee had resisted removal from their land in every way they knew. Convinced that white America rejected Native Americans because they were "savages," Cherokee leaders established a republic with a European-style legislature and legal system. Many Cherokee became Christian and adopted westernized education for their children. Their visionary principal chief, John Ross, would even take the Cherokee case to the Supreme Court, where he won a crucial recognition of tribal sovereignty that still resonates. The Supreme Court ruling proved no deterrent to President Andrew Jackson's demands that the Cherokee leave their ancestral lands. A complex debate divided the ... Written by We Shall Remain

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User Reviews

One of the bleakest events in American history....
11 June 2017 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

"We Shall Remain" is a five-part series by Ric Burns (Ken's brother) on the history of the American Indians from "The American Experience". However, it should be understood that it is NOT a comprehensive history. There are many gaps, omissions and most tribes are not discussed in the shows. This is simply because with five parts, there just wasn't enough time to do the subject justice.

Episode 3 is about a despicable part of American history, the Trail of Tears. The beginning of the episode shows the Cherokee nation working hard to be good people--and trying to assimilate and get along with the United States. In spite of them living peaceful lives, the people of the states in which the Cherokee nation existed wanted their land...and President Jackson was going to make sure this happened. Even when the Supreme Court said the removal of the Cherokee was unconstitutional, he and the state of Georgia pushed ahead with their removal...pushing the Indians on a forced march in the winter to land in Oklahoma. Many, many of these people died as a result of this horrible march.

It's rather tough to watch this episode, as this is a very sad moment in history and a sad way to treat anyone...especially law abiding and decent folks. Very well made, like other episodes, and well worth seeing...but also heart-wrenching to watch.

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Cherokee | English

Release Date:

27 April 2009 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

WGBH See more »
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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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