Imagine someone coming to your door and saying, "Be like us or leave."
That's what happened to the people of the five Native American nations that stood here well before European settlers started moving in.
"It was a land grab. The United States government wanted the peoples' land and they took it. And so the lesson for us today is when government comes to you and they take something from somebody and they give it to someone else, that is wrong," said State Rep. Glen Casada.
As a result of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, all Native Americans refusing to blend in with the ever-expanding new nation were put on a several hundred mile forced march, now called the Trail of Tears. Thousands died along its path.
With a round of cheers Friday, nearly 200 years later, the State of Tennessee publicly renounced its role in the Trail of Tears and expressed its regret.
For Ryan Little Eagle, the day was not so much about yesterday but about tomorrow.
"The past hurts, but it's things like today that we're trying to build a better future. To honor what the elders sacrificed and what they went through. To carry on that memory so we can continue living in a good way and keep these traditions alive," he said.
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