CBS actress slammed for mocking Trail of Tears in Facebook video

Actress Bojana Novakovic speaks at a live performance of “I Am an Immigrant: The Story of Our Nation,” celebrating immigrants and the immigrant heritage of the United States. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SOZE)

An actress is under fire for mocking the Trail of Tears. Bojana Novakovic, who stars in CBS’ Instinct alongside Alan Cumming, posted a video on Facebook of herself and a friend pretending to cry in front of a sign along the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.

The Trail of Tears, in the southeastern United States, is the route the Cherokee Nation was forced to take as part of Andrew Jackson’s “Indian removal” policy from the 1830s to the late 1800s. The Cherokee had to give up their land and walk thousands of miles to a specially designated “Indian Territory” across the Mississippi River. This deadly journey is now referred to as the Trail of Tears, and the trail can be visited by those who want to commemorate the forced removal and survival of the Cherokees.

Visiting the trail, Novakovic chose not to honor those who walked it before her. Instead, she appeared to mock them by fake sobbing and then laughing in front of the trailhead sign in a video she shared with her more than 8,000 Facebook followers.

The video was reposted to Twitter by Delores Schilling, CEO and president of Schilling Media, Inc., a Native American-owned media and public relations corporation that specializes in Native American and Aboriginal Canadian entities, according to the company website. She tweeted the video to her 24,000 followers, asking the actress for her “comments on this post.”

Schilling later wrote, “The Trail Of Tears is Not a Joke. The Trail of Tears is Genocide.” Since it was first posted, the video has racked up nearly 20,000 views and a lot of angry responses on Twitter. While some asked CBS to take action against the actress, others pointed out the irony in the post, since Novakovic writes about issues like family separation on her Facebook account. “Ironically, she tweets about learning history and apparently considers herself a liberal,” was one comment.


Amid the controversy, Novakovic responded to Schilling on Twitter to issue a mea culpa. She also apologized to anyone she had insulted and called it a “foreigner’s mistake.” (Novakovic was born in Serbia and raised in Australia.)

Schilling has since tweeted that she hopes this incident is a “teachable moment.”

CBS responded to Yahoo Entertainment’s request for comment, confirming that the network will not be taking any action on the actress’s video.

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