"The Trail of Tears"

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Poem Commentary

This is a collaberation between myself and a lady named Skymist2 online. Her name is Anita and she is a wonderful writer. She deserves credit for insightful editing.

"The Trail of Tears"

“The Trail of Tears,” or in the Cherokee
language, “The Trail Where They Cried”

The Cherokee, these harmonious people, demeaned and abused,
kept their pride, their integrity.
They honored their Cherokee guiding principle.


The “Ani’-Yun’wiya,”“The Principal People”
believed as all should, in their heritage. The
spirits of Kana’ti and Selu would not let them
down. No history can be told without the truth
coming out. The history of white man’s betrayal
began in 1808. For years before, and for over

twenty years after, they tried to make it seem the
Cherokee welcomed their fate.  Were happy with the white mans guidance,

 It should be no
surprise when they sealed their demise upon the
back of the pact which gave each one a share of
their land, and a say in all they decided. Their
constitution of ‘27 seemed to be the last little cry,
for they claimed their inherited lands and anyone
that sold theirs would have to die.

 

Then it was 1838.  For years before, the white man
tried to exterminate the red man, all because of
white man’s greed.  Greed for land, power,

and what the land held.


So began the Trail of Tears.
The soldiers began to round them up, like
cattle to a pen; forced them from their homes
and land. They tossed them out into the dirt,
mud, and gravel; wouldn’t let them bring
their clothes; the round up took twenty five days,

finally on June 17th it was completed,

 some spent months in the stockade until

the time of the move.

. The march took five months. Their plan was

good, Oh! It was noble, Yes! President Jackson,
what a generous man, ordered the army to
implement the plan; removal began when his
term ended.

Van Buren finished the evil work
of starvation and thinning them out.
What the hell, they can’t own land.
The Proud Cherokee and the other bands
and tribes all had deep pride,
yet didn’t deserve to own their own land!
They were not Christians; they, by not
performing in the white man’s manner,
gave up the rights to own, to continue in their
spiritual and harmonious ways. For not living

those previous hundreds of years in the
European standard, for not being Christian before

they had even heard of Christ, or of white men,

they were judged unable to honor the land, by

this trickery their home was stolen, such blatant

dishonesty, brought shame on those who had

souls, the honest white people.


By wagon some would travel, but most
would have to walk.  Cherokee, Creek,
Chocktaw and Chickasaw, along with other tribes,

would pay a heavy cost.
From Georgia to the Indian land we now
call Oklahoma, with bleeding feet, sparse food on

hand, and little else to eat, many would die along
the Trail of Tears.
Over a quarter of the tribes were fated to die
on the march to freedom and joy;
What joy for the little boy who slept with his
too-warm mother, was he happy to wake with her frozen
to death beneath the too thin cover?
I wonder if Quatie Ross is joyful, happy in her
shallow grave knowing that her beloved
people were all warm and safe;
so safe that she must freeze to death
for giving her thin blanket to a baby.


Read the journals and the letters
of Private John Burnett, a childhood friend

of the very people who were being so

forcefully sent to a death without pride; their

very soul, their tribal pride the whites tried to

destroy, the spirit and soul of the Principal People

would not give in.

 

Yes! Physical death would take

them, but never would they give their souls away,
no matter how hard the greed filled
white men tried. No matter how many women

and children died, The Cherokee held onto their pride.

There was no way that all whites looked away.
Some had compassion and wrote of the
sorrows, the majority of those who read their letters

 cared nothing for sad,
frozen tomorrows.

After all, they are only
Indians, they don’t own this land,
they don’t even understand
that we know what is best -
and like we all say, the west is the best, that is why

 we so generously gave it to them, while we took

over their hereditary worthless lands,
isn’t it?

 

The Cherokee sang songs of their
history that the spirits of the people would
always be proud. They still sing songs of
their heritage. They are still alive in
their pride. The traditions handed down first from

mother to sister to aunt, now
from one chief to another are kept by
generations of father, mother, and child.
It assures the trail will never repeat as
long as tribes survive, the story of
the Trail Where They Cried
will always stay alive.


A model for all people,

 they can take your lands,

your body, and your friends,

but never will they be able

to take away your pride.

 

© A Collaboration by Anita Longino & Sam Hyde

 

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tierra7 commented on "The Trail of Tears"

03-13-2011

Thank You Sam and Anita for this very heart touchin' piece it has great meanin' to me " I'm from the White Mountain Nation "Apache" I send love and light your way...

When power leads man towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) Thirty-fifth President of the USA

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