Chieftains Museum and Major Ridge Home sign

Chieftains Museum and Major Ridge Home, 501 Riverside Pkwy.

Rome’s Chieftains Museum has partnered with the Northeast Georgia History Center to highlight the legal battles prior to the tribe’s removal from the area.

Visitors to the museum will have an opportunity to learn more about how the Cherokee battled to maintain their native lands with a special traveling exhibit that opens July 24 and will run through September 6.

“It is impossible to destroy men with more respect for the laws of humanity: Court Cases of Cherokee Removal in Georgia” will feature a series of that highlight three cases. Georgia v. Tassel, Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, and Worcester v. Georgia tell differing stories about the rights of the Cherokee in Georgia and detail the series of rulings that helped influence the razor-thin approval of the Treaty of New Echota, which led to the infamous Trail of Tears, and ultimately the assassination of Ridge and several members of his family.

Glen Kyle, executive director of the Northeast Georgia History Center at Brenau University in Gainesville, said all of the cases involve the sovereignty of the Cherokee Nation in one fashion or another. All three cases went to the U.S. Supreme Court and had different outcomes.

By the time Tassel got to the high court he had been hanged in Gainesville and the Court dubbed the case null and void. In the Cherokee Nation v. Georgia case, the Court argued that it did not have jurisdiction as it was presented.

The Worcester case did result in a ruling that actually favored the Cherokee and found that the state of Georgia could not violate Cherokee sovereignty.

The exhibit explores the legal arguments for and against the removal of the Cherokee in Georgia, illustrating the lengths that the United States and state governments would go to remove native people from their homeland. Kyle said the President Andrew Jackson took the stance that, as it relates to the Worcester case, while the state of Georgia might not be able to act against the Cherokee, federal government action was something altogether different.

The exhibit is funded through a grant from the Georgia Humanities Council and was created through a partnership with Kyle and Chieftains Museum Executive Director, Heather Shores.

The exhibit includes nine large panels that are about 80-inches tall with photographs and descriptions of each court case.

“We contextualize within the time frame of the early 1830s,” Kyle said.

Admission for the exhibit is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors age 62-plus and $2 for students. The museum is open Wednesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the exceptions of holidays or special events.

The exhibition is part of a series of program offered at Chieftains Museum this year to mark the 200th anniversary of Major Ridge coming to the house.

For more information on the exhibit contact the museum at 706-291-9494 or visit