Legend provided by the Cherokee
The Cherokee were driven from their homelands in the areas that are now known as Tennessee, North Carolina, and from Georgia, after gold was discovered in North Georgia's Cherokee territory in 1828, which was already being mined illegally. The year was 1838 when the Treaty of New Echota (Enchanted Land) was signed and United States began the removal of the original inhabitants from their homelands to Oklahoma. The journey, Nunnadaultsunyi (Trail Were They Cried) is better known as the "Trail of Tears". It was a terrible time for the people, many died from the hardships and the women cried many tears.
(**Note: In the painting it appears that many of the People rode in wagons or on horseback, however, eyewitness accounts place the People on foot, walking.)
Legend of the Cherokee Rose
The old men knew the women must be strong to help the children survive so they called upon the Great One to help their people and to give the mothers strength. The Great One answered by causing a plant to spring up everywhere a Mother's tears had fallen upon the ground on the journey.
The Great One told the old men that the plant would grow quickly, then fall back to the ground and another stem would grow. The plant would have white blossoms, a beautiful rose with five petals, the color of gold in the center, for the greed of the white man for the gold on their land. The leaves would have seven green leaflets, one for each seven Cherokee clans.
The plant would be strong and grow quickly throughout the land all along the trail to mark the journey. The stickers on the stem would protect it from those who might try to move it, as it spread to reclaim some of the lost Cherokee homeland.
The next morning, the women saw the beautiful white blossoms far back on the trail. When they heard what the Great One had said they felt their strength returning and knew they would survive and the children would grow and the People would flourish in the new home for the Cherokee Nation.