“It gives me pleasure to announce to Congress that the policy of the government, steadily pursued for thirty years, in relation to the removal of the Indians beyond the white settlements is approaching to a happy consummation.” (President Andrew Jackson)
The following fictional story features a modern reflection about the “Trail of Tears” tragedy in 1830s America. When the federal government implemented a policy of forceful removal of Cherokee Indians and other tribes from their sacred homelands to expand white settlement westward, more than 4,000 Indians died of hunger, cold, and disease along this arduous route west to reach harsh prairies of resettlement in present day Oklahoma.
As Jason took notice of so many Cherokee tourist stands as he passed through this dusty rural town in Northern Georgia, he condemned this crass display of these cheap souvenir trinkets that were not telling the real truth about his people. For he became repulsed at the misleading idea that the tragic legacy of the Cherokee nation could be exploited negatively for profit by a toy tomahawk, a colorful headdress, or a plastic snow globe enclosing a fierce warrior figure. For Jason had heard the sad stories about the “Trail of Tears” forced exodus of his Cherokee Indians descendants westward during the white expansionist, “land grab” era of President Andrew Jackson’s reign. He would therefore not stay idle and just tolerate the agony of his ancestors pain. For he would stay awhile in this small town that had grown around the site of original Cherokee settlement and volunteer at the local history museum there to actively promote the true goodness of his people for others to fully understand.
Possessing a Masters Degree in History, Jason felt highly qualified to be up to this task. For in possessing a true love for seeking past truths, he would thus tirelessly work with the curator of the museum for the next two years to present authentic evidence to museum visitors about how his proud nation managed to survive amidst such catastrophic conditions. He would possess no tribal records of individuals displaced during that time. Yet he would retell their stories of good and evil that have inspired generations of Cherokee to survive. He would not share any legal documents of proof through deeds or treaties that insured the Cherokees their rights to settle on these Georgian homelands. But he could display their unique artwork designs that inspired them with spiritual protection amid the natural beauty of these surrounding environs. There would be no written letters from that period to present of Cherokee adherence to American laws and customs. Yet he could sing their morning love songs that inspired civilized rules of living through building close clan/family connections.
So without exhibiting a tinge of jealousy for his white conquerors who had possessed the great power to coerce his people, Jason’s creative exhibits to revive memories of Cherokee glory soon became the most popular tourist attraction in town. But on one unusual summer morning, the museum’s historic mission had radically changed. For Jason and other guides had met with the museum curator, curious to find out about the contents of five boxes of election campaign flyers/buttons that had been recently placed in the museum entrance lobby. Each object had conspicuously read, “Support Donald Trump: Make America Great Again.” They were soon advised at this encounter that the town mayor had called the curator to request that Jason and other employees there distribute these tokens in mass to town residents by mail and to museum visitors in person during the weeks ahead leading to the election.
Jason now wondered how this this museum’s high standards to serve truthful reflections of the past could be abandoned in the face of this obvious ploy of racist tinged, political propaganda! His suddenly overtaxed brain revived new thoughts about the horrors of white privilege that had so cruelly wreaked havoc on the Cherokee spirit. So late one evening, Jason would courageously circle around the fire to honor his ancestors who performed this ritual to find strength in enduring their struggles with the white man before. For as he had chosen to ignite this gloriously blazing fire to extinguish each box of racist political tokens forever in the quiet of night, he realized that fair retribution for his people against white racism had been justifiably accomplished.
For those of you who wish to know more about the history of Cherokee Indian injustice, click on the short, You Tube video below.