This book relates the history of the forced relocation of the Cherokee from Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina to Indian territory in Oklahoma and the struggle by their principal chief, John Ross, to prevent their removal from their ancestral lands. It chronicles one of the most significant but least explored periods in American history, recounting the unknown story of the first white man to champion the voiceless Native American cause. Son of a Scottish trader and a quarter-Cherokee woman, John Ross was educated in white schools. It was not until he was twenty-two, when he fought alongside "his people" against the Creek Indians, a neighboring rebel tribe, that he knew the Cherokees' fate would be his. Cherokee chief for forty years, he would guide the tribe through its most turbulent period; he defended the tribe against white encroachment and Andrew Jackson. Clashes between the two men raged over decades, from battlefields and meeting houses to the White House and the Supreme Court. Jackson felt no shame in ignoring decades of U.S.-Indian treaties as increasing numbers of whites settled illegally on the Cherokee Nation's native land, including Ross's beloved home at Head of Coosa. The chief remained steadfast in his refusal to sign a treaty agreeing to removal. When a group of renegade Cherokees betrayed him and negotiated an agreement with Andrew Jackson's men behind Ross's back, he was forced to give way and begin the journey west. In one of America's great tragedies, thousands of Cherokees died during the tribe's migration on the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma.