Trail of Tears

Trail of Tears

A Story by Nianque
"

This was written for my ethics class. Its about the forced removal of the Cherokee from Ga to Ok.

"

1838

I could hear crying, shouting, chanting, praying, and protest.  My mother grabbed me by the shoulders shaking the last remnants of sleep from my eyes. Soldiers bust into our home, with bayonets pointed, yelling at us to leave.  I was scared and my mother was shaking but she grabbed a few things and we fled. Other soldiers forced us into blockades with no food or sanitation. I saw family members and friends crowded like cattle. Some were quiet while others sobbed. The smell of loose bowels and vomit filled my nostrils, I gagged.

            Every since the discovery of gold in 1828, we haven’t had a moment peace. The adults won’t tell us children anything but I learned to read and write English from the church lady. I  listened to the conversations between them and our people. No one notices a dirty “Red Skin” kid unless I wanted them too.  I didn’t understand how the pale faces would take our lands. They changed our ways. We’ve adapted their customs, clothes, religion and even their political structure (“Trail of Tears”, 2006). My mother had her position as a leader stripped but at least she could still fight against the removal of our people to Oklahoma while a third of our women were struggling with family duties. We fought for our right to perform the Green Corn Dance also (Osburn, 1837-1904).

            Several soldiers stepped into our blockade. Everyone was quiet as a mouse in field as one solider stepped forward, speaking. I couldn’t make his words. Ruckus ensued as the soldiers quickly left as they had came. “Mama, what did he say?” I asked confused. She answered,” We are being removed from our lands under the order of General Winfield Scott to Oklahoma.” Outrage and fear clashed in her words and cold ice rushed through my veins as I understood. How were we going to get there? Is that what those wagons were out front? We didn’t have any extra clothes, food, or blankets. It was October and bitter cold. There were many rivers between here and Oklahoma. I reached for my mother and we hugged as we shook in disbelief. We have been on this land since the buzzard landed on the mountain. The first brother and sister of our people appeared soon after. We are descended from these two yet the white men, who have no mention in our creation myths, believe they have a right to remove us from what is truly ours (Monney, 2001).

            Different soldiers returned and shoved bayonets in our faces when we didn’t move fast enough outside. I saw glimpses of smoky fires with dead bodies littering the ground. I heard screams as soldiers raped various women from my village. My mother grasped my hand and hurried me forward. We are dirty and frozen through to the bone, being forced to walk with nothing but with what nature has given us. At this point, it was mud encasing our feet.

Weeks later…

            We have been walking for days or weeks. I’ve lost track of how many times the shining sun has set and risen. We are cold, tired, and hungry. Many of us have not eaten or had clean water. Those who have drunk from passing ponds or puddles are sick and some have died. I have counted over a hundred bodies already. We have buried some in shallow graves and sang grave songs but the soldiers urged us to continue marching. Others collapsed and were left where they died. I have never seen so much death and sickness. Babies wail from being denied their mother’s teat. Clan member take care of each other as mothers and fathers died and children were left behind (“Trail of Tears”, 2003). My mother held me close that night, it was chilly and we had no blankets. White people line the roads watching us march to the new home no one wants. They are wearing clothes that keep them warm while we freeze and chatter our teeth. The older people cough and wheeze along the way. Do any of them wonder about us? Do they wonder why they feel they are allowed to force us from our home? To force us to a new home that we didn’t ask for? Why are they given this power? Who gave them this power? What if we did this to them? They have been a plague since they have arrived by boat. If they didn’t drive us from our lands, they gave us sicknesses, plundered our villages for food and what they felt was theirs when it wasn’t. I don’t understand so much but what I do understand is that I need to fear the pale faces when they come around. We have heard other stories from other villages but we dismissed them as myths. We should have listened and prepared for war but we didn’t. I don’t know what awaits us in this new land. I hope that the death of my people was worth it for them to have a shiny, yellow rock that cannot be eaten, drunk, or even used for warmth. I hope they remember and that they feel sorrow as my people march “Nunna daul Tsuny” or The Trail Where They Cried (“Trail of Tears”, 2006).


 

References

Mooney , J. (2001). Myths of the Cherokee. Retrieved on May 23, 2010, from http://www.sacred-texts.com/nam/cher/motc/

Osburn, K. (2005). Cherokee Women in Crisis: Trail of Tears, Civil War, and Allotment, 1838-1907. Journal of Southern History, 71(2), 440-441. Retrieved on May 23, 2010, from Academic Search Complete database.

Trail of Tears. (2003). Retrieved on May 23, 2010, from http://www.cherokeebyblood.com/trailtears.htm 2002-2003

Trail of Tears. (2006). Retrieved on May 23, 2010 from http://ngeorgia.com/history/nghisttt.html 1994-2006

 

 

 

© 2010 Nianque


Author's Note

Nianque
This is a journal entry for a class.

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You should already know I like this! I'd go over it for grammar though, I saw a few things. And when you said she counted "a 100 bodies", you should spell out "hundred". And here "Soldiers bust into our home, with bayonets pointed, yelling at out us to leave." Either "out" needs to be ommited or switch "out" and "at".

I like this. But like I said, I'm sure you already knew that :)

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

A very nice report, if I do say so myself.
When has there ever been a greater love than the Love of Money?

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Heart rending…description….
Reminded me of Ann frank…and TWO LIVES by VIKRAM SETH
great work....
lingers in the mind......for a long time....
as a pain...

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

i love the message sent -- the trail of tears flowed twice -- once for the indians and once for the slaves -- so glad that you put this to light

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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I admire your interest in culture and history displayed here. I see you have cited your sources as well. If you are interested in similar reading material I suggest reading Dee Brown's, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, it's an excellent and eye opening account of how the west was "won" from the Native American perspective and it tells the history as they have recorded it. I would suggest carefully proofreading this aloud to yourself...and really READ..don't skim over it. Things like this "yelling at out us to leave." you need to listen for.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I really don't think racism is the issue here so much as "progress". Many tribal people have been driven out of their lands or enslaved in a similar way. There are people that show solidarity, or believe in a shared existence that doesn't accept tribal separation - the United States being one of them. The problem being that under-developed cultures are eaten-up by those that have developed.. Africa has suffered in a similar way. Some races of people believe in collective power, and social and material progress, whereas other simpler people stay ingrained in their ancient culture. Eventually of course they will be inevitably over-run by the former developing systems of government. The racism comes in where there is a lack of understanding for this kind of insular culture which tribes adhere to. A warring and xenophobic culture which excludes shared humanity. The American soldiers and indeed the citizens of that nation were therefore alienated by this tribal outlook, and failed to understand their fellow men, whether their skin was of a different colour or not. The tragedy of this lack of understanding is compounded by the lack of sympathy and cruelty which came from it. There is no plausible excuse for this callous behaviour, and through this piece of writing we are reminded of our morally-under-developed ancestors on both sides.
It is a touching piece of work, and although depicting a simple point of view regarding its subject, it is important in that it shows the potential inhumanity of humanity.

NB You should perhaps pay a little more attention to the reading of your work before it is published - there are many grammatical errors and omissions which should be checked early on. It can be off-putting for a reader, and come across unfortunately like pigeon-English at times which can also prejudice a reader against the work.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is my journal entry. I wrote it :) My professor give full mark for it. Yes sadly a lot of Natives were mistreated if not out right degraded to the status of animals. I get history from both sides of me. Black and Native...then to be confusing I have British too :9

Posted 11 Years Ago


a very sad truth expressed and very creatively; i am sure the author was praised for this journal entry, thank you for sharing your private thoughts we have learned about history's mystery and deceit.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is one of many sad things done to the Native Americans. There are many more even more terrible then this act done to the Cherokee people. The Sand creek massacre made the Native American gather too late together to defend their land. I enjoyed reading the story. Fact is more scary the nonfiction sometime.
Coyote

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

duly noted. i dont do writing for this reason. grrrr too many complexities and grammar. i rather have a test tube, slides, and microscope. I miss my sci labs :(

Posted 11 Years Ago


You should already know I like this! I'd go over it for grammar though, I saw a few things. And when you said she counted "a 100 bodies", you should spell out "hundred". And here "Soldiers bust into our home, with bayonets pointed, yelling at out us to leave." Either "out" needs to be ommited or switch "out" and "at".

I like this. But like I said, I'm sure you already knew that :)

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on May 27, 2010
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Author

Nianque
Nianque

Somewhere or over there, , GA



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Hello, I enjoy reading, drawing, and acting silly. I love my kitties, fishies, and turtle :] . I enjoy challenging myself and think. I've recently began to write again. It feels heavenly. more..

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