Tribal Justice Well Served

“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.

Source: https://www.britannica.com/event/Trail-of-Tears

For those of you who wish to know more about the history of Cherokee Indian injustice, click on the short, You Tube video below.

In Awe Of Creviced Canyons

Come dance with the west wind and touch on the mountain tops Sail o’er the canyons and up to the stars And reach for the heavens and hope for the future And all that we can be and not what we are.” (John Denver)

On day 55 of our spring road trip, we left Las Vegas traveling eastward on Interstate 15 in mid morning. Entering the rugged canyon lands of Southern Utah, two lane, curvy roads would be a more challenging drive yet motivate us to detour for several hours to sightsee/hike in Zion National Park in the afternoon. Driving south determinedly for two more hours after Zion, we at last settled into our latest Air B&B destination in Page, Arizona at dusk for some much needed rest. Our next two days in this tourist friendly town would thus provide a convenient spot for exploring the famed canyon landforms and engineering marvels of the Lake Powell watershed. The grand finale on this canyon leg of our road trip journey spontaneously happened in our decision to stop along the Grand Canyon South Rim on the way to our next destination, Sedona, Arizona. Enjoy the following photographic displays from each of these stunningly beautiful locations.

ZION NATIONAL PARK

Private vehicles are restricted into the interior of Zion National Park. So we hopped on the free shuttle at the Visitor Center along Zion Canyon Scenic Drive to experience spectacular views of immensely steep cliffs along both sides of the tram.

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Stepping off the tram for a look at the Human History Museum, I became immediately mesmerized by multicolored layers of ancient rock on a steep cliff opposite the tram stop.

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We exited again at the last stop of the tram circuit to enjoy a short hike along the rushing waters of the Virgin River to the beginning of the famed “Narrows” region.

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PAGE, ARIZONA

Spectacular views of Glenn Canyon Recreation area overlooking Lake Powell captivated our attention near Page at Horseshoe Bend and Glen Canyon Dam Overlook.

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A leisurely drive north along the Lake Powell perimeter road brought us a closer view of the waters below. At Wahweap, we hiked down a boulder strewn beach to relax amidst the gently lapping shores.

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Booking the mandatory tour of Lower Antelope Canyon, we descended deeply into a maze of spectacularly visual caverns. At times, the surreal rock and light show down there caused me to act a bit goofy.

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CAMERON, ARIZONA

We stopped at an Navaho Trading Post along Route 89 on the way to Grand Canyon. Here I noticed a distinct nostalgia for the “Old West on surrounding murals.

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GRAND CANYON SOUTH RIM

We entered the the Grand Canyon at the inconspicuous east entrance along Highway 64. At nearby Desert View Overlook area, we ascended to the top of the Watchtower for breathtaking views of the enormous depths descending down the surrounding canyon. This vantage point also offered clear views of the Colorado River flowing wildly in its narrow chasm.

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Driving along the rim to the west, we made time for a tourist popular stop at the Park Visitor Center where we hiked briefly to famous Mather Point Overlook. Here I focused my attention on the surrounding high plateau vegetation and upper reaches of the canyon.

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The Grand Canyon holds great meaning for the long existing Indian tribes there. At various overlooks along the South Rim, I noted authentic signs of their “sacred”  connection to this beautiful place.

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