A few weeks ago, I attended a ceremony honoring bicyclists who participated in the Remember The Removal for the Cherokee Nation.
I don’t want to post pics here because I don’t want to dishonor the efforts people or make them feel they’re being associated with this post. Also, I showed up late and didn’t get as good as pics as I should have. I may post them later, but check it out in The Cherokee Phoenix or on the Cherokee Nation website.
Being someone who grew up in what used to be the Cherokee Nation Capital in northwest Georgia, I find it interesting that I ended up living here not far from the current CN capital.
Many indigenous Native Americans don’t think too highly of this date as others do. For many, July 4 symbolizes the beginning of the end of the indigenous’ peoples way of life in America.
You’ve probably heard about Manifest Destiny and the Louisiana Purchase, but you probably never heard how these wouldn’t have been possible without the Declaration of Independence from England.
A decree by King George III was that the English colonies couldn’t expand westward past the Appalachian Mountain regions. Fifty years later, the Trail of Tears and removal of thousands if not millions of indigenous people from the eastern half of the country began.
Many of these people died along the way as they travel, on foot, through harsh conditions about 1,000 miles.
Andrew Jackson was president at the time and he was no fan of indigenous people, even though it has been wildly reported it was a Creek who saved his life during the War of 1812.
Some other items that you may never have heard is the Cherokee people owned enslaved people and many of their ancestors became recognized citizens as Freedmens until the CN under Principal Chief Chad “Corntassel” Smith voted to remove them as tribal citizens.
It’s a black eye the Cherokee Nation probably wished it didn’t have, but America has had many of those black eyes.
There’s a line in the movie Once Upon a Time in America that the country was still young and it needed to have this diseases (i.e. organized crime and corruption) when it was still young.
However, when this is said, the movie is set in 1933, which is almost 150 years after America’s independence, which some might argue is old enough to know better.
If Jackson hadn’t been saved, would we have still removed indigenous people? Mostly yes. It wouldn’t have been in the 1830s, but it would’ve eventually happened.
European countries were about colonization and imperialism. A indigenous TikToker has been criticized for referring to people as “Hey, Colonizer!” I’m pretty sure I would get the same response even though I do have Cherokee ancestry.
Our lives are full of what ifs. Could 9/11 have been prevented? Could Adolf Hitler been stopped in the 1930s? Could the Japanese have been stopped from firebombing Pearl Harbor?
The answer to every question on if something could’ve have been prevented is always yes.
While many colonists still considered themselves British, the Revolutionary War has been considered by many as the First Civil War in this country. History books don’t teach how George Washington and others tricked people into fighting the war by trumping up false charges and giving them the options of serving or going to jail.
Our history books are written by the winners and sometimes the winners cheat or bend the rules.
Speaking of the Civil War, you never hear how many Southerners were against it because they were expected to turn over most of what they had to the Confederacy. Or you never heard how the Union acted more like looters in many Southern town and villages. Or you never hear how many people from the north had no desire to fight forcing the government to trick immigrants coming off boats into fighting. Of you never heard how a Draft Riot broke out and nearly destroyed New York City in 1863.
Growing up in the South, you never heard how Reconstruction was actually a very positive progressive time in America but unfortunately, political pressure and anger over the events of the Civil War, led people in the south to rewrite and retool laws to enslave the same people who were freed.
There’s a lot of history to cover that hasn’t been covered and left up to filmmakers and Hollywood writers to explore in Gangs of New York, Cold Mountain or the TV series Watchmen to name a few.
The anger from the conservative right this year is that after telling people last July 4 not to celebrate because of social distancing and the Covid-19 pandemic, this year, they think the left is telling people not to celebrate because July 4 led to bad events.
History is reactive. Anything is reactive. You’re changing the course of all human existence either by going out or staying in today. I definitely believe in the Butterfly Effect.
We’ll never know that if Americans and the British pushed back, someone else would’ve carried on Hitler’s ideals and done so more successfully decades later. We don’t know if the colonists just decided to stay on the eastern coast what would’ve happened to the rest of the continent.
Immigrants came to America for a number of reasons. Many immigrants were on the RMS Titanic and who knows what would’ve happened if they had hit the iceberg head on and stay afloat long enough for other ships to rescue the passengers or if they had missed the iceberg completely.
Many people don’t celebrate July 4 and that’s their choice as Americans and for us to mock anyone who does or doesn’t celebrate shows that sometimes there’s a lot of grey areas in this country.
But our biggest problem is we’re still grappling with that one growing pain in which we think the world revolves around us. Ever gone to a toddler’s birthday party when another toddler even touches a gift or gets close to it and they freak selfishly.
That’s our problem. We’re still stuck in the selfish “Gimme that! It’s mine!” mentality children are before they learn to behave differently.
Ironically, the younger Americans are pushing for the changes while the older Americans seem mostly to want to continue the old ways that didn’t work, or that worked for them but don’t apply anymore in an ever-changing world.
What do you think? Please comment.