Monday, March 14, 2011

Freedom or Death...Hero with the Horned Snakes

In ancient times, there lived some very large snakes that glittered nearly as bright as the sun. They had two horns on their heads, and they possessed a magic power of attraction. To see one of these snakes was always a bad omen. Whoever tried to escape from one instead ran directly toward the snake and was devoured.

Only a highly skilled medicine man or hunter could kill a two- horned snake. It required a very special medicine or power. The hunter had to shoot his arrow into the seventh stripe of the snake's skin.
 
One day a Shawnee Indian youth was held captive by the Cherokees. He was promised his freedom if he could find and kill a horned snake. He hunted for many, many days in caves, over wild mountains, and at last found one high in the Tennessee Mountains.
 
The Shawnee youth made a large circle of fire by burning pine cones. Then he walked toward the two-horned snake. When it saw the hunter, the snake slowly raised its head. The Shawnee youth shouted, "Freedom or death!"
 
He then aimed carefully and shot his arrow through the seventh stripe of the horned snake's skin. Turning quickly, he jumped into the centre of the ring of fire, where he felt safe from the snake.
 
A stream of poison flowed from the snake, but was stopped by the fire. Because of the Shawnee youth's bravery, the grateful Cherokees granted him his freedom as they had promised.
 
Four days later, some of the Cherokees went to the spot where the youth had killed the horned snake. They gathered fragments of snake bones and skin, tying them into a sacred bundle. These they kept carefully for their children and grandchildren, because they believed the sacred bundle would bring good fortune to their tribe.
 
Also on the same spot, a small lake formed containing black water. Into this water the Cherokee women dipped their twigs used in their basket making. This is how they learned to dye their baskets black, along with other colours.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Wishes and Would Haves

I wish I
could go back to that night
could un-fight the fight
could somehow un-see

I wish I
never knew lies or betrayal

I wish I never would've looked for them

I wish I
would've laid back, enjoyed your presence
would've told you I was sorry for prior transgressions
would've loved you and not been...me

I wish I
would've cherished my love, my heart

I wish I would've not taken advantage of your calm...how I long for that stability now

I wish I
would've thanked you for all you've done
would've promised you would receive the same in turn 
would've given you the best part of me

I wish I
would've loved you how you needed me to...starting right then

I wish wishes were fulfilled...I would've still been whole

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cherokees feel they are to be sacrifices...

Published in Cherokee Phoenix and Indians' Advocate Wednesday, March 17, 1830 , Vol. II, no. 48. Page 2, col. 5a-Page 3, col. 2b

The Indian Committees in both houses of Congress have reported, recommending as we anticipated, the removal of the Indians to the west of the Mississippi.  The question is therefore now open for discussion, and soon we shall hear what is to become of us.  The crisis is at hand.  Will justice prevail?  Will honor and plighted faith be regarded, and the poor Indians be shielded from oppression?  These are momentous questions which must in a very short time receive a practical answer.   If justice prevails, the Indians will assuredly be protected.  But if treaties are disregarded and declared of no validity, as many high in office have already done, then indeed shall we be delivered over to our enemies-it matters not whether we hide ourselves in the western prairies-our enemies will have no difficulty in finding us there.  If therefore we are to be sacrificed, let the bloody tragedy be accomplished here on our own native soil around the graves of our fathers & in the view of the people of these United States.  The good people of this boasting republic may stand and gaze on the oppressive acts of Georgia, consenting or not, as they please, to our destruction.  It will not require their aid to destroy us-they need only stand still-Georgia can accomplish her design easily--But there will be a reckoning hereafter.

 It is said, however, that the general Government and the state of Georgia, do not contemplate using force.  We have never intimated that open force will be resorted to--this would be too barefaced.  But measures are in operation whose effects upon us are the same as those of compulsion.  The object is our removal, and if it is ever accomplished, it must be done contrary to our wishes and inclinations, by means which honor and justice must forever reprobate.   It makes no difference whether we are ousted at the point of the bayonet, or by indirect and oppressive measures--it is the same thing with us, and we wish the public to know it.  People of the U. S. our appeal is to you---will you, with a relentless hand, extinguish all our rising expectations?
 
 The leading men of this nation have been charged with a studied attention to mislead their people in regard to the nature of the country allotted by the government for the future residence of the Indians.  They have said, and repeated a hundred times, that the country was not fit for the Cherokees---it is poor and unhealthy---it is deficient in wood and water.  On the other hand, the agents of the government have extolled it, as being unexceptionable in every respect.  We can answer these men by a retort.  It is their studied attempt to beguile and mislead the Indians and not only the Indians, but the public.  We hope they will never succeed.  We have frequently said that the good land, if any there be in the west, was not sufficient for the support of the Indians proposed to be colonized there.  In this opinion we are not alone.
 
 We invite our Cherokee readers to whom the deceptive promises have been held out, to peruse the remarks which follow.  They are taken from an article in the Arkansas Gazette, headed " On the purchase of Texas." The writer must be considered a good witness in the case, so far as the nature and extent of the country is concerned.
 
 The whole country west of Missouri and Arkansas, (including the forth miles severed from the latter,) is already parcelled out to the different tribes who now occupy it.  The Cherokees and Creeks are already murmuring on account of their restricted limits and complain that the Government has assigned to both the same tract of country.  The productions of the habitable parts of the country under the careless culture of the Indians, will be found not more than sufficient to supply the wants of its present population.  And it should be recollected, that, tinctured as the Indians are, with some of the characteristics of civilization, the force of their original habits is broker, which readers [sic] them as little qualified to subsist on the sterile prairies towards the Rocky Mountains, as many of our own citizens.  In meliorating the condition of the Indians, humanity needs no subterfuge; its principles are plain, direct, and unconditional.  The Government is bound to protect the Indians as a separate and distinct people, so long as that protection does not interfere with the rights and interests of its own citizens; but when this sacrifice becomes necessary to keep up the semblance of independence among the Indian tribes, humanity can go no farther.
 
 The language usually held out to the Indians, by the agents of the Government, to induce them to remove, is, that they are to remain uncontrolled in their habits; that an extensive country will be assigned them, abounding with game and every other advantage suited to their pristine habits.  Without an extended country in the south, the Government cannot comply with those engagements.  It is a mere mockery of humanity to hold such language to the Indians, when under existing circumstances, the promises contained can never be realized. It is like adorning the victim with flowers and fillets, when you are leading it to the altar.  In our transactions with the Indians, as well as others, the scale of justice should never preponderate or the language of humanity be disguised.  In placing them west of the civilization, they must have a country in extent suitable to their roving habits.  It they are all to be crowded into the territory now at the disposition of the Government in the west, the consequence will be, war, starvation, and a total extermination of the race.  If this is to be the case, the cause of humanity would be aided, by compelling them to stay where they are, and submit to the restraints of civilization.
 
 If the proposition respecting the formation of our Indian colony, without the range of the States and Territories, contained in the report of the Secretary of War, should be adopted by the Government, we will have according to the Secretary's calculation, seventy-five thousand at one litter in addition to those already in the country.  We must acknowledge that the Secretary would be extremely productive in people for his colony, but will he tell us where he will put them? and how he will subsist them, under existing circumstances.  I believe his plan rational and practicable, if the Texas country belonged to the government, but otherwise the restricted limits in which he would have to plant his colony would render it a perfect Indian slaughter  house.