Native Quotes And Brilliance

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BY: ShaunaSay WhiteFeather
“What is the real truth of The Trail of Tears”? This question was asked recently by a group of school children on my email. They expressed that they were tired of hearing only a one-sided viewpoint of the issue, and it was not from the Native American what they were being taught.
You know as well as I, there has been numerous variety of books written on this subject for years. Only, this is the very first time that someone, young or old alike, has asked point blank the Native American people, of what actually took place without assuming hearsay or just plain guessing.
I personally do not claim to be an authority on this issue. It’s only that I am a Legend Keeper of my people. I will gladly share what was passed down to me to you, the readers.
It is a welcome relief that people, of all cultures, are going to the main sources and finding out the “Rest of the Story” as that wonderful columnist/author/radio talk show host of many truths “Paul Harvey” used to say.
The experience and trauma of our loved ones and elders who did live through it all, told a totally different and gruesome story all together…this is what my elders passed down.

Many know of the most talked and read about “The Trail” From the Appalachian Mountains to Oklahoma. There was more than the one; several took place from different directions. Also, there were several Nations and Tribes not just Cherokee alone. These forced marches were like a snowball of lives of young and old alike. Being rolled together to form the largest relocation mass of human beings in the world at that time. Not just full blood Natives, but also included people who had “mixed” into the Native Nations and Tribes. It was considered then the time of the “Great Cleansing” by the European race. They hoped and believed it would decrease the population to a “controllable number”. To the point of extinction, if possible, along the trails.

Let’s go back in History now and learn the real story. Andrew Jackson was President. He was the first President that went against the Supreme Courts’ ruling concerning the relocation of the Cherokee and other Nations and Tribes.
Which made this an unlawful action. In other words, he broke a Federal Law and was never prosecuted or reprimanded in any way.
In fact, he was rewarded by placing his image on a piece of currency (like Caesar) and used by every American citizen. They made him a hero, for what he did to the Natives, for all to revere and admire as a Father of this country.
This is the same as rewarding “Hitler,” and all his atrocities and actions, by also placing his image on assorted things. This slapped the Jews and victims in the face over and over. Remember the “Swastika”?
One very important fact is that the blankets contained the “Small Pox Virus” of his soldiers. Andrew Jackson purposely sent to the Native people as false gifts of honor and trust. This was to help in his plan of genocide. He wanted to make room for the European race. He considered our race as less than animals and pagan heathens unworthy of living on such rich and fertile lands.
It almost worked! He destroyed over two-thirds of our Nations and Tribes! But; this was not good enough for Andrew Jackson. He wanted more, much more! So, he went against the courts and decided for a massive roundup, during the harshest part of winter, of the Native Americans. In the middle of the night, the soldiers herded all of the people up like cattle to the slaughter. Many were not allowed to even put their moccasins on to protect their feet from the cold and snow. Few were able to grab their blankets to keep warm. No food was allowed to be gathered to take along.
Only a select few of the elderly were put into wagons or on horses so they did not have to walk the entire way. Once again, the plan was for the old ones and sickly to die as soon as they could. Women, who were with child, were forced to walk. If they gave birth on the trail, it was a favorite thing of the soldiers to throw the babies up in the air, as sport, and see how many times they could shoot the newly born. Any age that died along the trails, were just left where they died. The families were never allowed to have time to bury their relations. The women and young boys were used for sexual pleasures anytime the soldiers desired. They as well as the Blacks were placed into slavery and prostitution and sent all over the world. The women were given a special name by the Europeans, that even to present day, is still used to describe an Native American woman. Also the word is used by many authors of written novels and books in present day. These authors may or may not know that this “Special Name” still burns into our very souls, showing complete disrespect and degrading contempt of us as less than human beings…. That word is “Squaw” which actually translated, meant a woman’s private anatomy.

There were some soldiers that were part of the forced march, which kept records of these horrid events. They also had to admit that if it had not been for the Native men, they would have literally starved to death! The Native men that did the hunting for food, were more adept in the winter conditions and surroundings than the soldiers.

The March of tears, over a thousands miles, that were nothing but a murderous, bloody trail! Leading to more death and destruction…
They no sooner get settled on the land appointed to us, and then there would be oil or gold or something that would be discovered. They would be raided and killed forced to be moved again! False hopes, false promises, false truths. There so-called land deals were set up by guess whom? It was supposedly given to us as long as the water flows and the grass is green. On a piece of paper that was called a “Treaty” that had words on it with a gold seal of the “Great White Father” in Washington. Words, we did not understand in any of our languages, scattering our people once again to the four corners. As a result of this scattering of our people, they were mixed even more with other races, creating a paradox. This was the start of the “Hidden Indian” which slowly caused the dominant features of our people to blend more and more into the European…
The “Mixed –Bloods” of today are a strong backbone of all our Nations and Tribes. They do feel the urgency more so to preserve the cultures and heritages of our people before it is blended right on out of existence! Just what was wanted all along, complete genocide! It has not been a little more than three hundred years that all this started in the first place! And still to present day goes on! Civilization is not as old as people think, in theory maybe, but not in method.

Now, this article is not to stir up old hates and discords. It is to tell the truth in all aspects. To be truly civilized is to live in peace and harmony with one another no matter what race one may be descended from. It should be enough to just be a human being and counted as such among all. This, friends, has not been truly accomplished to the present day. It is another lie to be added to the bone pile, I am afraid. We are, in every aspect, brother and sister to the sacred Buffalo…If someone cannot have complete control over us, then we are to be terminated, wiped out of existence. Why our people are so feared? It is because that we sit back very quietly, and we neither say nor do nothing to fight back against the wave upon waves of injustice. We are feared because we have always known the outcome of this invisible war. We know that it will be our people, in the end, that our enemies will have to turn to for their continued existence. Our people, who have kept the knowledge of the “Older Ways” that was thought of being uncouth or uncivilized. They will be in the end, the only way to rebuild the mess and damage done to this world as a whole, both physically and spiritually.

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Comment by Charlotte..aka..Booyah on February 12, 2010 at 2:31am
ShaunaSay...thank you for taking the time to write such an in depth article. I remember when I was young my father used to tell me Andrew Jackson was a mass murderer. We never learned that in schools that is for sure. This article reminds us of the brutality our people have faced and our governmetn still continues too stomp on us. I weeped as I read your article. Thank you for helping us to remember what happened and to all of our people.
Comment by Sassafras on July 7, 2009 at 9:25am
My ancestor lead one of the detachments on the Cherokee Trail of Tears, and I thank you for your article. I remember still!

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