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How did the Trail of Tears affect Native Americans?

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Quick Answer

The Trail of Tears became a symbol of the forced relocation of Native Americans from the land of their ancestors in the 19th century. The difficult and often deadly journey resulted in very few natives remaining in the southeastern United States by the end of the 1830s.

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Full Answer

The impact of the relocation resulted in extensive life losses, which led to depopulation in certain areas. Moreover, the relocated Native Americans found it difficult to adapt to the new environments in numerous cases. Adapting to the dynamics of a new economic system meant that the Native Americans had to face the pressures of a market where land was something to be bought and sold, instead of being preserved for generations.

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