A Conversation for The Trail of Tears - The Forced Removal of the Cherokee Nation

COMMENT-ON: The Cherokee Trail of Tears - An American Exodus

Post 1

EliudGonzalezNunez

1 ----- NOTE: under the heading "Indian Removal", Paragraph-2 has this quote by Davy-Crockett, 'I would rather be honestly damned than hypocritically immortalised.'

2 ----- NOTE: under the heading "The Trail of Tears - from Georgia to Oklahoma", paragraph-2 states that "The Cherokee Rose (Rosa laevigata)" became the state flower of Georgia.

3 ----- Crockett's-quote seems not-merely-appropriate, it seems downright prescient when juxtaposed with the state of Georgia's choice of state flower. In effect, the Cherokee were both damned and THEN hypocritically-immortalized by their American-masters.

4 ----- This is a damn-well-written-entry, but the-entry's-title, "The Cherokee Trail of Tears - An American Exodus", is a-bit-jarring. Were I a Cherokee, I would not feel in the least-bit honored by having my forebears's "trail of tears" labeled an "American"-possession, exodic or not. Isn't that what the state of Georgia's people did with the state-flower-thing.

5 ----- Oh, I forget, the dead are supposed to feel honored when the living immortalize them; and it's not supposed to matter if the dead hated and were fighting against what the living now love.


COMMENT-ON: The Cherokee Trail of Tears - An American Exodus

Post 2

manolan


In the opening paragraph, it has this sentence:

"Gradually, the European settlers were reduced in number by war, famine, disease2 and ultimately by forced relocation."

Surely this statement refers to the Indian population rather than the European settlers.

And, in the section entitled "The Mexican Cherokee", it has a repeated sentence:

"Some of these migrants moved on to Texas, who were later joined by more people, who were invited there by Sam Houston. Some of these migrants moved on to Texas, and later more were invited there by Sam Houston - whose second wife was Cherokee, and who had himself been made a citizen of the Cherokee Nation - as he wished the Cherokee to serve as a buffer against the Comanche and Kiowa during the Texans' war with Mexico."


COMMENT-ON: The Cherokee Trail of Tears - An American Exodus

Post 3

The H2G2 Editors

Thanks for those. They're fixed now.smiley - ok


COMMENT-ON: The Cherokee Trail of Tears - An American Exodus

Post 4

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Freshly Vaccinated

Thanks for the interest - and the feedback. I agree - Davy Crockett's comment is ironic, and the way people commemorate the past often misses the mark widely - as in this ad for the Trail of Tears State Park in Missouri. http://www.mostateparks.com/trailoftears.htm Imagine advertising the recreational opportunities available at say, Oswiecim.

As the author, I have just one further comment. I realise that the fact that things get labeled 'American' is awkward. By calling the Cherokee Trail of Tears 'an American exodus', I didn't mean to imply ownership of this event by the perpetrators, rather than the victims. I merely meant to point out that this historical event took place in 'America'.

I'm aware of the further awkwardness of using the term 'America' to indicate the territory occupied by the United States. Obviously, the rest of North and South America have something to say about that name.

But people in the US usually refer to their country as 'America', and have done for quite a while.

I've decided to take that question up with somebody who might answer it authoritatively. So I've sent an email to the 'Cherokee Phoenix', and if somebody at the newspaper gets back to me, I'll post their answer here.


COMMENT-ON: The Cherokee Trail of Tears - An American Exodus

Post 5

U2006

I liked your article. It was very well researched and written. I have a single issue though, and as a freind you know i'm not being indictive, it's the phrase: "ethnic cleansing". I'm not sure you should be useing it. It's SUCH a loaded phrase and as a history student i was told not to use it. It immideatly passes a very damning judgement with little proof that there was such a force in play, after all it's hard to tell what the settlers thought. I mean i am in no way endorceing the europen treatment of Native Americans, i'm just wondering if that phrase was the best one to use?

Sorry for nit picking..


COMMENT-ON: The Cherokee Trail of Tears - An American Exodus

Post 6

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Freshly Vaccinated

Good point. I think 'ethnic cleansing' is exactly the right phrase, for this reason.

It was a stated policy of the government, aired in no less a forum than Andrew Jackson's State of the Union address of December 6, 1830.

http://www.swarthmore.edu/Humanities/kjohnso1/jackson.html

There is also the text of the Indian Removal Act of 1830.

http://www.civics-online.org/library/formatted/texts/indian_act.html

That the removal was based on ethnicity can hardly be disputed. The Principal Chief of the Cherokee, John Ross, whose extensive lands were confiscated by the US governmnent because he was a Cherokee, was only one-eighth Cherokee by ancestry, the rest of his forebears having come from Scotland.

Ross could have kept his land and stayed in Ross' Landing - which was immediately renamed Chattanooga, Tennessee, as soon as he left - instead of organising the exodus to Oklahoma Territory, and losing his wife (who is buried in Arkansas) in the process, had he pointed this out, and disqualified himself from removal on ethnic grounds.

But he chose to remain Cherokee, so forfeited the land and businesses he owned in Tennessee and Georgia. (He was one of the richest men in the country, by the way.)

I agree that terms such as 'genocide' and 'ethnic cleansing' should not be thrown around lightly.

But in this case, I believe the term describes the case exactly. Here is an article abstract from 'Foreign Affairs' which takes up the question.

http://www.foreignaffairs.org/19930601faessay5199/andrew-bell-fialkoff/a-brief-history-of-ethnic-cleansing.html


COMMENT-ON: The Cherokee Trail of Tears - An American Exodus

Post 7

U2006

I'm still not so sure. I mean you can back it up but i still think it's far too loaded to be useing it.


COMMENT-ON: The Cherokee Trail of Tears - An American Exodus

Post 8

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Freshly Vaccinated

I'll stick to my guns about it, though, I'm afraid.


COMMENT-ON: The Cherokee Trail of Tears - An American Exodus

Post 9

lil ~ Auntie Giggles with added login ~ returned

I said, when I first read it in its infancy, this was a powerful piece of work. I still feel the same about it now.

Congratulations Dmitri, a job well done!


COMMENT-ON: The Cherokee Trail of Tears - An American Exodus

Post 10

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Freshly Vaccinated

Thanks, lil.smiley - smiley


COMMENT-ON: The Cherokee Trail of Tears - An American Exodus

Post 11

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Freshly Vaccinated

An update for anybody who's still interested - following an email conversation with someone on the staff of the 'Cherokee Phoenix', the title of this entry has been changed at my request.smiley - smiley


COMMENT-ON: The Cherokee Trail of Tears - An American Exodus

Post 12

lil ~ Auntie Giggles with added login ~ returned

Yes. A little emotive, but necessary in this case.. smiley - smiley


COMMENT-ON: The Trail of Tears - The Forced Removal of the Cherokee Nation

Post 13

EliudGonzalezNunez

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1 - - I know for a fact that you took sufficient and copious notes during that e-mail-conversation with that "someone on the staff of the 'Cherokee Phoenix' ".

2 - - I know for a fact that you're fully-aware what a human interest level those copious notes of yours are going to add to "The Trail of Tears - The Forced Removal of the Cherokee Nation" - - with the words of the living about the fate of the dead.

3 - - I know for a fact that you're right-now planning how to incorporate those notes into "The Trail of Tears - The Forced Removal of the Cherokee Nation"; I only suspect this, but you're probably right now checking to see how big a-footnote you're going to add.

4 - - I know for a fact that you're carefully-planning the wording of your added-footnote to show all readers that "the past is prologue to the present moment".

5 - - I know for a fact that after your new footnote is added you're gonna be satisfied that you've done your damndest to make the history of the dead and the words of the living get very-truthfully-juxtaposed.

6 - - I don't know this for a fact, but I certainly suspect, you''re gonna do a whole lot more than I know about; and I bet you you're gonna do all that in a footnote of no more than about-50-words.

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