The 2010 Silver Dollar issued by the Sovereign Nation of the Shawnee Tribe pays tribute to the thousands of Native American men, women and children who died during their removal from their native lands—via “The Trail of Tears”--and the aftermath. Each coin is 1 oz. of pure silver, designed by award-winning medalist Alex Shagin.
In 1830, President Andrew Jackson wrote to the Cherokees: "My friends, circumstances render it impossible that you can flourish in the midst of a civilized community. You have but one remedy within your reach, and that is to remove to the west. And the sooner you do this, the sooner you will commence your career of improvement and prosperity." And in 1838, President Martin Van Buren ordered U.S. Army troops under the command of Gen. Winfield Scott to began rounding up the Cherokees and moving them into stockades in North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee.
“Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, Comprehensive Management and Use Plan, US Dept of Interior, National Park Service,” published in 1992, reported that “In all some 90 thousand Indians were removed to the West, including the Delaware, the Ottawa, Shawnee, Pawnee and Potawatomi, the Sauk and Fox, Miami and Kickapoo, the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole. Some reluctantly agreed to move. Others were driven from their homes at bayonet point. Almost two thousand of them died along the route they remembered as the Trail of Tears … and mortality rates for the entire removal and its aftermath were substantial, totaling approximately 8,000.”
Private John G. Burnett, Captain Abraham McClellan's Company, 2nd Regiment, 2nd Brigade, Mounted Infantry, wrote: "I saw the helpless Cherokees arrested and dragged from their homes, and driven at the bayonet point into the stockades. And in the chill of a drizzling rain on an October morning I saw them loaded like cattle or sheep into six hundred and forty-five wagons and started toward the west....On the morning of November the 17th we encountered a terrific sleet and snow storm with freezing temperatures and from that day until we reached the end of the fateful journey on March the 26th 1839, the sufferings of the Cherokees were awful. The trail of the exiles was a trail of death. They had to sleep in the wagons and on the ground without fire. And I have known as many as twenty-two of them to die in one night of pneumonia due to ill treatment, cold and exposure ..."