When Senator Elizabeth Warren formally announced her 2020 presidential bid this weekend, President Trump responded with a familiar line of attack.

He mocked Ms. Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, for her claims to Native American ancestry, again calling her by the slur “Pocahontas.” Mr. Trump then appeared to refer to the Trail of Tears, the infamously cruel forced relocation of Native Americans in the 19th century that caused thousands of deaths.

“Will she run as our first Native American presidential candidate, or has she decided that after 32 years, this is not playing so well anymore?” Mr. Trump tweeted. “See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz!”

The Native people were forced out of their homes and put in internment camps before they were pushed westward to designated Indian Territory, in present-day Oklahoma, according to the Trail of Tears Association, a nonprofit that works to preserve the historic trail and promote awareness.

Some 15,000 Native people died during the journey from exposure, malnutrition, exhaustion and disease, including about 4,000 Cherokees.

“It’s a terribly tragic event in Cherokee history and looms large,” said Jace Weaver, the director of the Institute of Native American Studies at the University of Georgia, who has studied the Cherokee removal.

In the early 1800s, the federal government made an agreement with Georgia to remove all Native Americans from the state. But little was done to enforce it immediately, according to Dr. Weaver.

Then, in 1829, gold was discovered on Cherokee land in northern Georgia, which ramped up efforts to dislodge the Cherokees, according to the Trail of Tears Association. Around the same time, Andrew Jackson became president and began to “aggressively” pursue a policy of relocating Native populations, the association said.

Jackson signed into law the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which authorized the government to relocate Indian tribes in exchange for unsettled territory in the west.

Most Native Americans opposed the policy, and the Cherokee Nation brought a lawsuit in the United States Supreme Court. In one ruling, in 1832, the court sided with the Cherokees, Dr. Weaver said.