Trail of Tears: Fictional Journal Entry
This is a fictional Journal entry of an American Indian. People from Europe immigrated to America and with intentions of annexation and colonialism. This led to the annihilation of around 90% of the American Indian People (Cherokees of California, 1992). The people that were still alive after disease, famine, and war then had to suffer through expulsion; this was even true for the ones who participated in assimilation.
February 1, 1838
I slept fitfully last night; I was chilled to the bone and wondered if this would be my last night on earth. I was one of the lucky ones; I slept in the wagon. Many of the people in my tribe were forced to sleep on the ground on a blanket of snow and ice. Many of the elders did not wake up this morning. We took the time as we do every morning, to bury our fallen comrades, before continuing onward down this trail of tears.
This land once ours alone has become our enemy. Our elders had passed down stories of life in the 1400s before the one they call Christopher Columbus came and tore our lives apart. We lived in peace and harmony and even welcomed these strangers, as is our custom. They treated us as brothers to gain our trust. They wanted us to convert to their ways, but so many of us did not understand the words they were saying. They brought their diseases, in which we had never before suffered, and we died by the hundreds. When we did not convert in a timely manner they waged wars.
Now 300 years later they have decided we are not worthy to live among them. Their President Andrew Jackson stated "My friends circumstances render it impossible that you can flourish in the midst of a civilized community. You have but one remedy within your reach, and that is to remove to the west. And the sooner you do this, the sooner you will commence your career of improvement and prosperity." (The round up, para. 1).
Why don’t they realize that we are more civilized than them? We never asked them to change their ways, we accepted them for who they were, and they massacred us for trying to stay true to ourselves. We are currently on our way to a camp along the Oregon Trail our brothers are coming from all over the country; they will arrive from present day Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, western North Carolina, and South Carolina, northern Georgia, and northeastern Alabama (Cherokees of California, 1992 para .10). We are unsure of the state the people's mind will be in, who arrived before us. We may fight, but we will persevere as one. I am so cold, and I hurt from all of the death around me. This land once flourished we lived off the land and took no more than we needed. These intruders have come and are killing the earth.
Who are they to make us worship there god, to no avail? Those of us who did not fight and die have turned our back on life as we know it only to be persecuted in the end. Has this happened because we turned our back on our gods; do they feel resentment towards us, and now feel the need to cause bitterness and pain? We do not understand the ways of these outsiders. Why do they not try to teach us their ways? They insist that we are barbaric but, all we are guilty of is offering our friendship.
Our nation once full of beauty has been tarnished by the white man, who destroys more than he could use. They bring our vegetation to their world and leave their swine to destroy are farms. They do not see us as equals; I do not see us as equals either. I see hate bred from entitlement, and I would rather die fighting than become part of a society that is driven by material things. We were blessed with paradise but, now we are destined to live a life of oppression in these so called reservations.
My mother is Ill and will not make it through another cold night; we are far away from where we are going. Pain and suffering are all I see when my people try to fight against the white man. They point their bayonets at us, and we do not have the tools to compare. We must do as we are told. I am so tired and so cold; maybe our Gods will shine on us in the future, right now we are in a bad place with no chance of coming out on top. And they believe that Christopher Columbus is a hero. He will probably go down in history for the annihilation of our people, but we know as we walk down this trail of tears that he is nothing more than a murderer of innocence.