John Ross was a chief of the Cherokees from 1828 to 1866. His father was white and his mother was white and Cherokee. It was during the presidency of Andrew Jackson that the effort to move the Cherokee from their eastern homeland to Indian Territory, now called Oklahoma began in earnest.
Chief Ross tried to resist the pressure by appealing to the courts but to no avail. In the winter of 1838 Chief Ross was forced to lead his people to Indian Territory. Thousands of Cherokee died along the way. This journey was called the "Trail of Tears".