Thank you, and a special thanks to the National Association. I want to acknowledge Jack, who stepped in to ensure everything ran smoothly. Today, I’ll discuss some aspects of the Trail of Tears, which is the focus of my research.

I can’t delve into every detail, but I will highlight significant points about the training rounds, supply contracts, and the automation into the host areas. These details bring immediacy and realism to events that happened 117 years ago, much like the experiences we discussed last night.

Consider the volcanic eruptions and the dust they ejected into the atmosphere. The volcanic dust index was more than twice that of Mount St. Helens, which itself covered vehicles in volcanic dust up to two inches deep in some places. Imagine a volcanic event 50 times greater, affecting weather and agriculture significantly.

The data shows how these volcanic activities caused a chilling effect on the Earth from 1835 onwards, impacting the climate significantly. Temperatures dropped drastically across the southeastern United States, including places like Tallahassee, Florida, and Savannah, Georgia, where temperatures hit record lows.

This climatic event severely impacted agriculture, causing poor harvests and food shortages. By 1835, the Cherokee Nation was already suffering from these effects. Reports from commissioners in September 1835 indicate they were aware of the crop failures and food shortages.

Traveling from the agency to the Family Council in southwestern North Carolina, they reported seeing the diminished corn crops and hearing from local Cherokee leaders about the hardships. This climate anomaly continued to impact the Cherokee people, exacerbating the already difficult conditions they faced.

By September 1835, the Cherokees had faced three years of crop failures. A letter from a commissioner noted that there would be a need for rations to support the people. The food crisis was not just about the immediate lack of food but also about the economic and subsistence impact.

The food shortages continued into 1836, leading to a severe famine. In Savannah, Georgia, the price of corn and other staples skyrocketed. The economic distress was compounded by political instability, leading to the signing of the controversial Treaty of New Echota.

The treaty itself acknowledged the severe crop failures and food shortages, stating that the U.S. government would provide rations and clothing for two years to the Cherokee people. This provision was crucial as it recognized the dire situation the Cherokees were in due to these climatic anomalies.

The volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815 had long-lasting effects, contributing to a series of environmental and agricultural challenges that culminated in the 1830s. This context is essential to understand the pressures faced by the Cherokee Nation, leading to the tragic events of the Trail of Tears.

These environmental and political pressures created a situation where the Cherokee people were vulnerable to disease and starvation. The conditions during the removal were harsh, with many dying from exposure and malnutrition.

As the Cherokee were forcibly removed, they faced severe winter conditions, further exacerbating their suffering. The hardships endured during the removal were a direct result of both the climatic events and the political decisions made during this tumultuous period.

In conclusion, the story of the Trail of Tears is not just about the forced removal but also about the broader environmental and political context that led to this tragic event. Understanding this context helps us grasp the full magnitude of the Cherokee people’s suffering and resilience.

Thank you for listening.

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