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(Cherokee Nation)

TAHLEQUAH, Oklahoma The Cherokee Nation has responded to the held up at the start of a McAdory High School football game.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker issued the following statement in response to the banner:

Ironically, the Cherokee Nation is commemorating the 175th anniversary of the start of our Trail of Tears this year. About 16,000 Cherokees began the trek to Oklahoma from our homelands in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Kentucky, but only 12,000 lived through the harsh conditions that winter.

The Trail of Tears was arguably the most horrific period in the Cherokee Nation s history and among the worst atrocities ever sanctioned by the United States government.

The legacy of that terrible era has had a profound effect on generations of tribal citizens, and still lingers today.

This unfortunate display shows how much improvement is still needed in the understanding of Native peoples, our triumphs and our challenges, both historical and modern.

We hope this becomes an opportunity for administrators at McAdory High School, and at schools all across the United States, to teach our young people not only the terrible history behind the Indian removal era, but also the resilience of tribes across the nation.

The sign, which originally began making the internet rounds , reads:

"Hey Indians, get ready to leave in a Trail of Tears Round 2"


Soon, the image gained national attention.

BuzzFeed about the controversial banner on its website.

A created by Magdiel Shiranui of Brooklyn, N.Y., had 808 supporters as of this evening.

Shiranui encourages supporters to sign the petition to send a message to McAdory High School that the banner is racist, and brutal and to take responsibility to punish those who even thought of this banner.

, McAdory Principal Tod Humphries issued a public apology on the school s website where he accepted full responsibility that arrangements were not made to have the signs pre-approved before the ballgame versus the Pinson Valley Indians.

Shortly after, Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Dr. Stephen Nowlin , where he said he is disappointed by the decision taken by McAdory High School students. The cheerleading squad, he said, will be disciplined.

Along the statement issued today, the Cherokee Nations reminds the public that November is Native American Heritage Month. To learn more about observances this month, visit

For more on the McAdory High School story,

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