Who Hijacked Our Country

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Trail of Tears

In the 1830s, about 15,000 Indians were abruptly forced out of their homes in the Southeastern states, to make way for a white settlement. They were marched along the Trail of Tears to their new reservation in Oklahoma. Thousands died during the march.

The National Park Service currently oversees the Trail of Tears. And a Republican Congressman from Tennessee, Zach Wamp, wants to fund a Congressional study to learn more about this disgraceful episode of America’s history. This Congressional effort might include an education and research center.

According to the National Park Service, “families were separated — the elderly and ill forced out at gunpoint — people given only moments to collect cherished possessions. White looters followed, ransacking homes as Cherokees were led away.”

Cleata Townsend, a Cherokee descendant, said visiting youngsters “don’t have a clue” about the forced removal of thousands of Southern Indians in the 1830s. She said “they all think we lived in tepees. That’s the one thing they see in movies.” She said Cherokees at the time were very established and “may have lived in better houses” than white settlers. “We may have been having dinner and soldiers came to our door and took us at gunpoint.”

Rep. Zach Wamp (also a Cherokee descendent) said “You have to recognize and acknowledge your mistakes for the white man to make this right…There has to be an acknowledgment that ... slavery was a mistake, the Trail of Tears was a mistake.”

America (like every country) has a lot of dark chapters in its history. We need to own up to this. The dark side needs to be publicized and acknowledged.


Blogger spaceneedl said...

what are you talking about? the u.s. has never done anything wrong. didn't you ever play cowboys and indians as a kid? no one ever wanted to be the indian, did they? that's because they were bad. they made loud, unpleasant noises and scalped people, just for fun.

i don't see anything fun about scalping someone. or making loud noises.

November 29, 2006 at 2:27 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Spaceneedl: Hmmm, you're right. What was I thinking? This project is undoubtedly being undertaken by Communist rabble-rousers trying to stir up trouble. It's that wicked old Blame America First crowd again :)

November 29, 2006 at 3:53 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Three cheers for Wamp. This is the kind of thing the country needs more of. When we think of our national heritage, too many of us may tend to think European.

In the Harry Turtledove/Richard Dreyfuss book "The Two Georges, the authors present an alternative history story about what America might be like if George Washington and King George had settled differences by signing a treaty. In the book, America is a protectorate of Great Britain, not nearly as technologically advanced as we are today; this other America has cars that run on kerosene, cross-country travel is done by trains or dirigibles, and phone service is primitive at best. The Cherokee Nation is just that... a real, bonafide, technologically-advanced country within America! It's a fun book, anyway.

November 29, 2006 at 7:59 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: That’s exactly right, the history of the American Indian is definitely part of our heritage. I’ve never heard of that book but that sounds like an interesting premise. All kinds of ways our history could have turned out.

November 29, 2006 at 10:41 PM  
Blogger frstlymil said...

So glad you wrote about this. There are many dark chapters in our history that harshly effected the well-being of non-white-people-of-European-decent. We cannot thrive and succeed as a culture, unless we are educated about the bad along with the good. Our inability or lack of desire (aka "intellectual curiosity") to look at our comprehensive history is what is making our country mirror the fall of the Roman Empire - and in a much shorter period of time.

November 30, 2006 at 6:52 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Frstlymil: You're right, we need to acknowledge the bad, the dark side of our history, in order to survive as a culture. There are definitely some interesting parallels to modern American society and the Roman Empire just before it fell. Hope we can make the necessary corrections in time.

November 30, 2006 at 4:28 PM  
Blogger Praguetwin said...

we need to acknowledge the bad, the dark side of our history, in order to survive as a culture.

This is a point I have tried to make in my discussions many times.

That would include apologizing for things like operation ajax in Iran, the overthrow of Allende in Chile, the retraining of the remnants of the Samoza regime and calling them "freedom fighters."

Until we make ammends for the past mistakes, the cries for democracy, and freedom ring hollow.

November 30, 2006 at 11:13 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

One of my ancestors on my father's side of the family walked the Trail of Tears.

Wonderful post.

December 1, 2006 at 10:38 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Prague Twin: Yup, all those chapters you mentioned are part of America’s dark side. We need to own up to it.

Dana: Thanks.

December 1, 2006 at 1:17 PM  
Blogger Brad said...

I'm kinda stunned Wamp's a Republican. You sure that's not a typo? God bless him, though, he's doing the right thing.

December 1, 2006 at 9:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Brad: Yup, Zach Wamp is a real live Republican. I had to do a double-take myself.

December 1, 2006 at 9:28 PM  

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