Tsalagi Freedom

Tsalagi Freedom Cover
ISBN: 9781940269689

Author: Rebekah E. Byrd


One Girl’s Journey Beyond the Trail of Tears

Forced to abandon their Georgia homeland during the harsh winter of 1938 and escorted by federal troops, over 15,000 Cherokee set out on a grueling 1,200-mile trek to Oklahoma. Most traveled on foot, wearing only scant clothing and lacking food and provisions for the journey. They weren’t allowed to rest or tend their ill. Over 4,000 died of starvation and disease. In their native Tsalagi language, Cherokees refer to this tragic event as nu na hi du na tlo hi lu i. The trail where they cried.

“Those traitors signed away our land!” Young Jaya overhears these words signaling that her world has been stolen from her. Suddenly, she must walk away from the only home she has ever known. The walk that will forever be remembered as The Trail of Tears. As she sets out on the long, mournful march, Jaya’s burning sense of injustice sparks a fierce desire to break free. To defeat the soldiers and escape. But winter and its ill companions descend, and her courage faces staunch resistance. High ideals lose their luster when mere survival takes priority.

In trying to save her loved ones, Jaya musters every last ounce of courage. But will anyone care enough to save her? Doesn’t God see the plight of her people? Even as she searches for warmth, Jaya’s heart screams for freedom.


“[Byrd’s] storytelling gives a glimpse of the fears and struggles for survival and understanding experienced by the tribal members during this tragic episode in history.”
–Stacy W. Reaves, historian and author

Author Bio

Growing up in Oklahoma, Rebekah Byrd adored listening to her grandfather tell stories of a Cherokee girl from their family who faced the Trail of Tears-stories that inspired her first novel, Tsalagi Freedom. She contributed to Teen-to-Teen: 365 Daily Devotions for Teen Girls by Teen Girls. Currently, Rebekah is pursuing a degree in deaf services and hopes to one day combine her love of sign language with her heart for missions, working with Deaf overseas.

Retail Price: $14.99