How long did it take?
Who began to realize it first?
That would have been the “Visionaries”.
Who finally admitted it last?
That would have been those who live in “denial”.
Every group has them. Every culture has their Visionaries, Realist, and those who live in Denial. I’m sure the Native American Indians were no different. From this point on I will not type out Native American, I will simply say Indian, but you will know who I mean.
The question I am asking is, at what point did the Indian nation realize that the country they had loved was never going to be the same?
At what point did they realize they had passed the Point-of-no-Return?
How many refused to see even to the very end, with the “Trail of Tears” almost upon them?
How could we have done that to them? It is amazing how capable the human mind is to “rationalize” anything we do. So the indian, the Cherokee, the Choctaws, and so on, did not believe you could “own” nature? They did not believe you could own the river, the tree, the earth, and the sky? I guess that means they don’t own it. They do not have white-man papers of legal ownership. We “do” believe you can own the river, the tree, the earth, and the sky. So we will take it! We will buy it cheap or run them out. We will stake out our land, provide legal white-man papers of ownership, and then it is rightfully ours.
At what point did the indian realize that the country they had loved was never going to be the same, and that they had lost it?
When the PNR, (point-of-no-return), was passed, how many of them understood it was gone? How many still fought on, clung to hope, lived in denial? However, the journey of the Trail of Tears finally came, and the visionary, the realist, and those in denial, finally wept, suffered, and died together.
The process of “cultural transformation”, proposed by George Washington and Henry Knox, was gaining momentum. The “Indian Removal Act” was established in 1830, and by 1837, 46,000 indians had been removed, thereby opening up 25 million acres for white settlement.
The forced relocation of the indians gathered them from southeastern parts of our country and marched them across land to the eastern parts of Oklahoma. Many died in the process, from exposure, disease, and starvation. 4000 of the 15,000 Cherokee died. 17,000 Choctaws were moved with 2,500 to 6,000 of them dying on the Trail of Tears.
The wild buffalo, the bow and arrow, the freedom to roam, the teepee, the indian villages, fishing the rivers, hunting the deer, running the wooded paths, and taming the wild horse, riding bare-back, all was about to change. They had their culture, their way of life, their religion, the Great Spirit, the White Buffalo Woman, the vision of Crazy Horse, prayer cloths, and so on. All of it destined to change forever with the coming of the white man.
The Visionary would have seen it first. They would have begun to warn the people! How many believed and how many laughed? Eventually the realist would have began to recognize a danger was building, and perhaps the visionaries could be right, but those who live in denial would have continued to deny the impending doom. Even if battles began to break forth they would have denied that they would lose, and that a tremendous “cultural transformation” was upon them! But upon the Trail of Tears, the visionary, realist, and the denier, would finally be as one.
George W. Harkins had a Choctaw mother and a European American father. His uncle on his mother’s side was Chief of the Choctaws. He, himself, had been educated at Centre College in Danville Kentucky, and had a Law degree from Cumberland University. He was quoted as saying this:
“We as Choctaws rather choose to suffer and be free, than live under the degrading influence of laws, which our voice could not be heard in their formation.”
“…which our voice could not be heard in their formation.” Some indians did choose to remain with the white-man, intermingle, compromise, and try to adapt. 5,000 to 6,000 Choctaws remained in Mississippi.
However, the question haunts me…”when” did the Native American Indian realize America was changing, transforming, their world disappearing before their very eyes, never to be the same again?
Why does the question haunt me?
Because I already know, and I have known for some time, my America is changing, transforming, disappearing before my very eyes, never to be the same again.
I have been one to fight it, and I will continue to do so, but I believe we are past the Point-of-no-Return.
No, I’m not just talking about the deficit. That 16 trillion dollars is only one facet of many I could mention, and I intend to do so. First, let me be plain, I am a Christian, and I now stand in the place of the long-ago indian, watching the country I have loved disappearing before my very eyes. My chosen way of life is in danger. Perhaps you disagree? Perhaps you do not see? Does that make me the visionary?
No one is forcing me on a Trail of Tears, yet, but my heart already weeps for what I see.
I wonder when the first time is that it was said that America is a Post-Christian nation? I do not recall hearing it before, until the last few years, and I have heard it several times since then. President Obama stood in a foreign nation and declared that America is not a Christian nation. I do not find fault with his statement. We have always had the presence of other religions and faiths in this country, and we have always been a country of freedom of religion. No Christian of any understanding is going to force their faith on another person, as we tried to do to the American Indian. However, the America of the past had a strong sense of Judaic Christian morality!
The foundation of this country, even with all of its mixture of good and bad, was Judaic Christian! But I agree with Obama, it is no more! A Nativity scene of the Christ child is not even allowed on most of our courthouse lawns anymore. And the Ten Commandments? Who can even name most of them? Right and wrong? We don’t need the Bible for that, it is just a book written by men. Here is the America of the past, James Madison, quoted in a speech, 1778:
“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future…upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to sustain ourselves, according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
Federal buildings in Washington D.C. were used as Churches, and Thomas Jefferson attended one three days after his famous letter to the Baptist “supposedly” declaring the Church has no business in government!
“…not upon the power of government, far from it.”
Yes, this is the America of the PAST.
I decided to make this a two-part article. I am not trying to say that those who are changing our country do not have the right to legally do so, but I am saying that the “America the Beautiful” that I believe in, has been sliding down a slippery slope for quite a while, and I believe has passed the point-of-no-return. My wife and I were eating at a Steak and Shake when a couple of men decided to start kissing. Did they have the right to do that? Yes, but that did not stop it from ruining my meal, and if they are going to do that in public, then I still have the right to say I believe it is a sin and very wrong!
We have been on a slippery slope for too long! My mom and dad never had to deal with such a thing in the America they loved, now I do, and what will my children deal with as we continue to slide? Perhaps you say I should change, but I will not. I will not be one of the indians who avoided the Trail of Tears by giving up their ways and compromising with the white-man. As George Harkins said:
“We as Choctaws rather choose to suffer and be free, than to live under the degrading influence of laws…”
I will be free in my soul!
The indians fought a battle of bows and arrows against guns and rifles. The old against the new. The “old ways” against the “new ways”. However, that was a physical battle, and this is spiritual. I will have more to say on that in Part Two. But I do wonder how many see what I see?
Are there any Realist Christians out there who would agree we are a Post Christian nation? If so, do you realize what that means for us? Have you given it any thought? If we are not Post Christian, then how do you explain the moral direction of this country? The mother’s womb is no longer sacred? What is this world I now find myself living in?
Did the Choctaw struggle with owning the river, the tree, and the earth? Did he miss the feel of his leather covered foot running upon a wooded path, or the bare back of the horse beneath him? Did his heart break with the loss of these freedoms, the world he loved because he was a Choctaw indian! Do not fault me for what I love as a Christian! If you are not one then you do not know! The world I grew up in was still pretty safe for children, my dad’s time even safer, but my grandchildren? Do not fault me for what I love as a Christian. I do not like the direction things are going. I read the leaves on the trees. Children are in greater danger in every way. Something is not right in the heart of man!
Where do you see this country going in the next ten years? Will the Bible be more important? Or less?
Am I the only Christian, that even as I fight, there is weeping in my heart? (Stay tuned for Part Two. Feel free to leave comments.)