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Trail of Tears, in U.S. history, the forced relocation during the 1830s of Eastern Woodlands Indians of the Southeast region of the United States (including Cherokee, Creek, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole, among other nations) to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River. Estimates based on tribal and military records suggest that approximately 100,000 indigenous people were forced from their homes during that period, which is sometimes known as the removal era, and that some 15,000 died during the journey west. The term Trail of Tears invokes the collective suffering those people experienced, although it is most commonly used in reference to the removal experiences of the Southeast Indians generally and the Cherokee nation specifically. The physical trail consisted of several overland routes and one main water route and, by passage of the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act in 2009, stretched some 5,045 miles (about 8,120 km) across portions of nine states (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Tennessee).

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