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The Trail of Tears

Guy Carawan
Language: English



The trail of tears went winding weeping into Tennessee
Kentucky Illinois Missouri Arkansas would see
Four thousand silent graves to mark the trail to Tahlequah (1)
Four thousand testimonies to the white man's cruel law

The Choctaw went before him to the Western country
The Creeks were next to suffer loss of pride and property
The smoky mountain region bid the Chicasaw goodbye
No more would see the Cherokee beneath its giant sky

One October morning in the chilling drizzling rain
Six hundred forty wagons left for Oklahoma's plain
Many went before and many more would come behind
Till fifteen thousand gathered there in March of thirty-nine

The voices of the drivers of the moving caravan
Were melancholy heralds of the troubles to begin
For many met their doom upon that woeful weary way
The frost and ague took their deadly toll from day to day

The cause of all this suffering was gold dust so they say
The greed of white and Christian men made Indians to pay
John Ross to Jackson cried in vain to spare the Cherokee (2)
Now many moons would show the wounds of their barbarity

The trail of tears went winding weeping into Tennessee
Kentucky Illinois Missouri Arkansas would see
Four thousand silent graves to mark the trail to Tahlequah
Four thousand testimonies to the white man's cruel law
Note:
(1) Tahlequah, località dell’Oklahoma dove furono destinati i Cherokee
(2) John Ross (Guwisguwi), uno dei principali capi dei Cherokee. Chiamato anche il Mosè della sua gente perché fu lui a guidarla nell’esodo forzato. Sul “cammino delle lacrime” perse anche la moglie.


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