People's History: Indians 1800-1840 (Chap 7)

Music: Twilight in Your Eyes

Behold the Christian spirit of the pioneers:
the Indians evicted on a "Trail of Tears."

The "right of soil" was promised Indians,
to keep their land as first Americans.
Instead they underwent a culture shock,
beginning at the shores of Plymouth Rock
and spreading west with unrelenting speed.
The Indians were pressured to concede
their land to 'legal' owners of a deed -
as if a group of people could succeed
in buying air! In 1812 we fought
another war with England, as we sought
expansion to the land they claimed. The war
produced a hero, Andy Jackson; more
renowned was he for fighting Cherokees
and Creeks and Choctaws. Nothing could appease
his lust for cleansing states from Florida
to Tennessee, to make America
a "Christian" land. Some voices, barely heard,
opposed the fate the Indians endured,
like Henry Clay's. But treaties of deceit
would relocate the Shawnee and defeat
the Seminole, "Great Father" promising
and taking back, and even coveting
the arid desert land once signed away
as worthless. Marching on a passageway
to unfamiliar lands, the Cherokee,
once-mighty nation, beaten refugee,
exposed and hungry, numbed by cold and fears,
succumb in thousands on a "Trail of Tears"
as President Van Buren testifies
to their retreat: his "pleasure to apprise."

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