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Red Clay, 1835: Cherokee Removal and
the Meaning of Sovereignty

by Jace Weaver and Laura Adams Weaver

Indian Removal tested American democracy and would prove a brick in the road to Civil War.

Red Clay, 1835: Cherokee Removal and the Meaning of Sovereignty focuses on American Indian removal from the American Southeast in the 1830s and events leading up to the Trail of Tears. In particular it focuses on a pivotal historical conference held in Red Clay, Tennessee in October 1835 at which the United States presented terms for a removal treaty a few months before the illegal Treaty of New Echota was signed. It deals not only with this too-little-known part of American history, but it also opens up other issues of the period (many of which have continuing relevance today), including westward expansion, race and the status of Native Americans within the framework of the United States, cultural change and assimilation of minorities, how one deals with social problems, and the sectional divide that eventually leads to the American Civil War.



Indigenous and Native American Studies; Political Science and Government

19th Century; Late Modern History

In a Few Words
Removal, Ethnic Cleansing

North America

Notable Roles

John Ross, John Ridge, Andrew Jackson

Themes and Issues  

Native American, Indian Removal, Race

Player Interactions 
Factional, Competitive, Coalition-Building

Sample Class Titles
Native American Cultures; American History to 1865

Published Level 5 game (what's that mean?

Divided Spaces; Money; Secret voting; Rolling Dice; Randomizer, lottery, or chance elements; Differentiated Voting; Resurrection roles

Chaos and Demand on Instructor 
This game is moderately chaotic and mildly demanding on the instructor.

Primary Source Highlights
Democracy in America; Cherokee Nation v. Georgia; Worcester v. Georgia

Using the Game

Class Size and Scalability 
This game is recommended for classes with 14-30+ students. 

Class Time  
For this game 8-9 sessions (3 to 4 setup, 4 game, 1 debrief) sessions are recommended.

Possible Reacting Game Pairings
This game can be used on its own, or with other games. These pairings are meant to be illustrative rather than exhaustive or prescriptive. Red Clay, 1835 may pair well with:

You can adjust the assignments based on the desired learning outcomes of your class. This game can include journalism and letter writing. Not all roles are required to give formal speeches.


Confirmed instructors who are not yet members can access basic instructor materials. Reacting Consortium members can access all downloadable materials (including expanded and updated materials) below. You will be asked to sign in before downloading. 


Students need a Gamebook, which includes directions, resources, and historical content. The Red Clay, 1835 Gamebook is published by W. W. Norton. 

 Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-7064-5
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-4696-7243-4

Published July 2022

 Available wherever books are sold.

Role Sheets

Students also need a Role Sheet, which contains biographical information, role-specific resources or assignments, and their character's secret victory objectives. 

.pdf file.

Instructor's Manual

The Instructor's Manual includes guidance for assigning roles, presenting historical context, assignments, activities and discussion topics, and more.  

.docx file.

Additional Resources 

Resources for Introduction and/or Debrief

  • "The Trail of Tears" from "American Experience: We Shall Remain"

Download Pre-Game Reading Quiz

Created by Lucy C. Barnhouse, September 2022


Jace Weaver

Jace Weaver is the Franklin Professor of Native American Studies at the University of Georgia.

Reacting and Related Titles

  • Oklahoma Revolution: Radicalism Against Racism, 1923
  • US intervention in Vietnam

Laura Adams Weaver

Laura Adams Weaver is an instructor in English and Native American Studies at the University of Georgia.


Members can contact game authors directly

We invite instructors join our Facebook Faculty Lounge, where you'll find a wonderful community eager to help and answer questions. We also encourage you to submit your question for the forthcoming FAQ, and to check out our upcoming events


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