Subtitled “The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian,” this tune was a 1971 #1 hit for garage rockers, Paul Revere and the Raiders. It is a cover song also first done in 1959 by someone named Marvin Rainwater, who was part Cherokee. So too was Raiders singer Mark Lindsay.
In the 1830s, the Cherokee peoples were moved from Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama, to what is now Oklahoma. We are talking about tens of thousands of American Indians exchanging their homelands for new territory, based on the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The emigration is also known as the “Trail of Tears,” and has come to be seen as a further stain on race relations in the USA. Thus the song aptly sticks to minor chords.