The Never Ending Trail

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5th Grade Opera- 2015-16

The Trail of Tears
Class Reading of “The Never Ending Trail”

Act 1
*Song 1: The Tearful Trail
(3 kids walking down a road; 3 Cherokee talking around a campfire, the kids join them at the fire)
Kid 1: Hey, look at those people.
Kid 2: Yeah, they look like the Cherokee Indians. My parents were telling me about them last week.
Kid 3: Didn't they live here many years ago?
(the kids walk up to the Cherokee)
Kid 2: Hi, our names are Lizzy, Maddie, and Jilly. Who are you?
Kid 1: Is it true that your ancestors were forced off their land?
Present Day Cherokee 1: Ok well let’s start with your first question, we are part of the Cherokee Nation. Our people have been in America since ancient times....

Kid 3: Did your ancestors walk the trail of tears?
Present Day Cherokee 2: Yes, it was a very sad trip. Let’s start at the beginning....
Present Day Cherokee 3: At one time the Cherokees lived peacefully in North Carolina, we were at peace with almost every one.
Present Day Cherokee 2: A man named Sequoya created a written language for the Cherokee people
Present Day Cherokee 3: It was the first written language of the Cherokee people.
Kid 1: Cool!
Kid 2: Keep going
(scene change)

(finishes writing and exclaims....)
Sequoya: I did it! I can't believe it! I did it!
Ahyokah: Daddy you did it!
Sequoya: Yes my sweet Ahyokah! But I did not do it, alone WE did it!
Ahyokah: Yay! Can you teach me? I want to share it with everyone.
Sequoya: Of course, we can share it with all of our people!
Narrator 1: Soon everyone knew how to read and write the Cherokee language.
(person comes out with a sign that says 6 years later)

(Ahyokah barges in)
Ahyokah: Daddy the newspaper came out!
Sequoya: Let me see! wow! A newspaper in English and Cherokee!
Narrator 2: Every one was at peace but it would not last long.


Act 2
*Song 2: Indian Removal Act
Narrator 3: Thomas Jefferson believed that the West would not be settled for thousands of years. He sent the Indians out West and said that they would be safe from dishonest people who wanted to take their land.
Sequoyah: I have decided to take the people who wish to join me out west. We will establish new towns in Arkansas. We will have schools and our own government!
Eastern Cherokee: Most of us want to stay in the East. This is our home, we will not give up! We will fight for our rights!
John Ross: I, John Ross, the chosen principal chief vow to protect our people's’ right to our land!
Narrator 4: In 1828 Andrew Jackson was elected the President of the United States. In his first address to Congress, President Jackson said that all Indians must be removed from the East.
Andrew Jackson: All Indians must go! I am sponsoring the Indian Removal Bill!
Eastern Cherokee: I have struck gold in my backyard. I can’t wait to go mine it and become rich.
Narrator 1: Unfortunately, Anti-Indian laws were created. Indians were forbidden from mining gold on their own land and their land was divided into lots and given to Englishmen through a lottery system. These Native Americans were quickly losing everything they owned.
Andrew Jackson: You will not be mining any gold here; get off this land; we are taking over all the property in the East.
John Ross: As I stand here before the Supreme Court, I declare that there is a terrible injustice! Our land is being stolen and our rights are being taken away! This is not legal.

Narrator 2: The Supreme Court agreed with John Ross and the Cherokee Nation. However, President Jackson sided with the Southern states. Tragically, he allowed those states to ignore the Supreme Court ruling. When John Ross got home from Washington DC, his plantation had been taken over by the Englishmen and his wife and children were gone. They had been forced out into the rain.
Andrew Jackson (Smiling): As I sign the Treaty of New Echota into law, I declare that all of the Cherokee will be removed from the East.
Act 3
*Song 3: 16,000
Narrator 3: Only 20 Cherokee’s signed the Treaty of Echota. John Ross went to Washington with a petition signed by 16,000 opposing the treaty, but it fell on deaf ears. The Cherokees would have to move west by May, 1838.
Narrator 4: The Cherokees who signed the treaty led small groups to what is present-day Oklahoma. They claimed the best sites for their homes.
Narrator 1: Almost all of the remaining Cherokees were taken captive and locked up in stockade forts. Then they were forced to leave all their belongings behind, and travel west.
Colonist/Soldier 1: Get inside! Leave all your belongings behind!
Cherokee 4: Why must I go? I worked hard for my home!
Colonist/Soldier 2: I don’t care! Get inside!
Cherokee 5: I can’t find my baby! Please, help me find my child!
Colonist/Soldier 1: That’s not my problem. I said move it, now!
Cherokees shouting out: What about food and water?! How are we supposed to survive?! What if we get sick?! Why are you doing this to us?!
Cherokee 4: We must sleep on the ground. The summer sun burns our skin. We have no shelter or supplies.
John Ross (to General Scott): General Scott, please let the Cherokees travel to the Indian territory on their own.
General Scott (pondering the decision): Well, it’s a hard decision, but I guess that will be okay.
John Ross: Has everyone gotten their things ready?
(no answer)
John Ross: OK. let us pray: Heavenly Father, please be with us on our journey today.
(bugle is blown by “Bugle Boy” who is a colonist)
(Thunder cloud rolls in)
Eastern Cherokee: That cloud is a sign of bad luck!

(nervous murmur from the Cherokee audience)
Narrator 2: The Cherokee were very worried about the bad omen and wondered what would happen on their journey.
Cherokee 5: (get on wagon and tells John Ross privately) How are we going to survive?
John Ross: We are going to have to be strong; it is going to be a long journey.
Narrator 3: Several routes were used, and the land routes were longer but safer.
General Scott: I will give each Cherokee $65.88 to cover their expenses, but that’s it! No more!
Narrator 4: They planned to travel 15 miles each day so that the 1,200 mile trip would take 80 days. The first group left on October 1, 1838, and the last left on November 7th.

(Scene 2-On the trail)
Cherokee 4: I’m so tired, I don’t know how I will ever make it.
Cherokee 5: My wagon is broken and my horse has died. How will I ever carry all of my things?
Narrator 1: Winter came early, making the situation even worse. John Ross’s wife, Quatie, was very ill, but never hesitated to help those in need. (Show Quatie helping others)
Quatie: Don’t worry, it will all be ok. I have lived a wonderful life (gasping for air)….I am counting on you John.
Narrator 2: On February 1, 1839, John Ross buried Quatie near Little Rock, Arkansas. She was just one of many who died.
(Scene 3: Present Day--around the camp fire)
Present Day Cherokee 1: The legend of the Cherokee Rose grew from the Trail of Tears. It is believed that each drop of blood turned into a stone rose.
Present Day Cherokee 2: Those crystals can still be found along the Arkansas River and became the state stone of Oklahoma.
Kid 1: Wow! That’s so cool!
Kid 2: How many people died?
Kid 3: Yeah! Was it a lot?
Narrator 3: No one knows for sure how many people died, but they say that at least 4,000 Cherokee men, women, and children lost their lives.
Present Day Cherokee 1: The last Cherokee party arrived on Indian territory on March 25, 1839. The journey took 139 days, rather than 80.
Present Day Cherokee 2: We called this the Nuna Dat Shun’y, which means, “the place where they cried.”
Act 4
Narrator 4: When the eastern Cherokee Indians arrived in the West, they faced difficult conflicts with the western Indians.
John Ross: We need to keep our government and not let the Western Cherokees take over leadership.
Western Cherokee: We don’t want you to have power over us, we want to govern your tribe!
John Ross: Instead of fighting over who has power over who, why don’t we join together to make a unified Cherokee nation?
Narrator 1: The United States government established a small reservation in western North Carolina. Today over 10,000 Cherokee remain in North Carolina.
Narrator 2: You can see Tsali’s story along with the story of the Trail of Tears performed every year in Cherokee North Carolina called “Unto These Hills”.
Narrator 3: There are over 80,000 western Cherokees living in Oklahoma today.
*Song 4- with Native American Dance
Kid 1: There are some lessons that can be learned from the bitter journey called the Trail of Tears.
Kid 2: One of the lessons is that when promises are broken many people suffer.
Kid 3: Another lesson is a lesson of hope. The Cherokee showed perseverance and courage throughout the whole journey.

Kid 1: The survival of the Cherokee is the survival of all that is best in the human spirit.
Narrator 4: Today the Cherokee Nation is a federally recognized government. The capital of the Cherokee Nation is in Oklahoma. There are over 317,00 Cherokee citizens, it is the largest tribal nation in the United States. You can even check them out on youtube, facebook and twitter!
Jade: Thank you for coming today to see our Opera!
Kid 3: I hope you enjoyed our production, we worked really hard!
Kid 1 and Kid 2: Please come back to our classroom for our Opera Reception!!

Narrator 1- Isaac

Narrator 2- Savannah

Narrator 3- Sara

Narrator 4 - Emily

Kid 1- Maddie

Kid 2- Jilly

Kid 3- Lizzy

John Ross- Daniel

Present Day Cherokee 1- Isaiah

Present Day Cherokee 2- Peyton

Present Day Cherokee 3- Casey

Cherokee 4- Micaiah

Cherokee 5- Britton

Eastern Cherokee- Rev

Western Cherokee- Bryson

Colonist/Soldier 1- Preston

Colonist/Soldier 2- Ben

Sequoia- Keller

Ahyokah (Sequoia’s daughter) - Jade

Andrew Jackson- Josh

Bugle Boy- Daimean

John Ross’ wife (Quatie)- Alonis

General Scott- Jayden

  • Thomas Jefferson (picture only)

  • Martin Van Buren (picture only)

  • John Quincy Adams (picture only)

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