Thursday, September 27, 2007


Good morning,

Some more information about Native Americans and my friend Willie and his Native American wisdom.

My friend Willie Whitefeather was a Native American Cherokee and he spent a lot of time talking about the "Cherokee Trail of Tears." Many of his ancestors were in that march.

In case you are not familiar with it, I will share some of it with you.

The Trail of Tears is one of the saddest chapters in the history of the Native American. It came about because the US Government wanted to relocate the Cherokee Native Americans They had a plan to send them to a reservation near what is now known as Tulsa, Oklahoma.

It was no instant decision but was the result of a series of events that began in 1827.

It was that year that the Cherokee Nation declared itself a republic and even ratified its own constitution.

In 1828, a renowned Indian fighter named Andrew Jackson succeeded the more sympathetic John Quincy Adams in the white house.

Then in 1829, gold was discovered on Cherokee land. The following year, the Indian Removal Act was made law. After several years of delays and some Cherokee emigration from the area, the army moved to forcibly evacuate the remaining Cherokee's from then land. It was 1838.

Although the army officer in charge of the evacuation of the Cherokees in Georgia issued strict orders that it be carried out as humanely as possible, his orders were largely ignored.

Cherokee families were herded out of their homes at bayonet point, shoved, struck and even shot.

Personal property was seized and sold. Bands of looters pillaged Indian villages, sometimes before all residents had left.

Not even the cemeteries were spared, as thieves unearthed graves for silver pendants and jewelry.

After temporary internment in camps, the Cherokees were grouped in caravans. In September, 1838 the Indians began the long trek to their new home in crude wagons, on horseback, but mostly on foot.

They trudged through the snowy winter cold. Many were elderly and feeble and they died along the way. Travelers who passed the processions described a din of weeping as the caravan slowed momentarily to bury the dead.

When the last of the Cherokees arrived at the reservation in March, 1839, it was not known exactly how many had perished. The estimate is 4000, one fifth of their entire population.

Four other Native American tribes in the Gulf States region were uprooted during this time. The Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole.

By 1840, the Trail of Tears, as the route to the reservation land came to be known, was closed.

All five Native American tribes had been removed from their homelands.

Wouldn't it be nice if Hollywood and TV would put aside for awhile the movies and program, about the Holocaust and tell the story about the Native American Cherokees?

Thank you Ragnar

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