ROOTS-L ArchivesArchiver > ROOTS > 2008-10 > 1224270183
From: "Kith-n-Kin" <>
Subject: Re: [ROOTS-L] ------Cherokee Removal
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2008 12:03:03 -0700
I may be stepping on some toes here, but as far as I know, every person in
the geographical confines of North and South America is an immigrant, or is
the descendant of an immigrant. And, the record shows that these immigrant
groups did not get along all the time, and took over each other's
"territories." And, I don't care whether you are talking about pre-historic
immigration and movement, or the English insisting that the Germans live in
I understand that there are cultural myths about the origin of various
people, but the archaeological record does not support these myths.
Let's take a look at the archaeological record of the Cherokee and their
immigration into what became the southeastern US.
The original Cherokee (not the myriad of blends of Cherokee and other
Nations, and Europeans) have a distinct phenotype, and do not resemble the
nations around them.
And, you might want to read this:
" Archaeological and linguistic evidence indicates that the Cherokee
migrated in prehistoric times from present-day Texas or northern Mexico to
the Great Lakes area. Wars with the Iroquois tribes of the New York area and
the Delaware tribes pushed them southeast to the Allegheny and Appalachian
mountain regions in modern North and South Carolina, Tennessee, and northern
Georgia and Alabama. There the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto encountered
them in 1540."
In other words, the Cherokee in the southeast post-date many of the other
groups of Amerindians. Some say they were in the southeast by 1000 or so BC,
but others give a much later date, 200 AD according to the Museum of the
Cherokee. There is some question as to whether they descended from the
Iroquois, but that's still to be determined. Eventually the Cherokee became
farmers as well as hunter-gatherers.
Some sources indicate that Dr. Timothy W Jones, PhD, of the University of
Arizona, puts the Cherokee on the Ozark plateau 800 years ago. I can't find
an original source where he states this, but it is something to think about.
Like many other migrating tribes, these tribes came into already settled
land and pushed around the then current occupants. I'm not clear why anyone
would be surprised that the next set of immigrants (kin to the Cherokee,
according to some) from Europe would do the same thing.
The European settlers were coming faster than the already settled land would
allow, and since they didn't know about crop rotation and other methods of
using the land, moved westward as the land became infertile. The Louisiana
Purchase in 1803 encouraged settlers and they petitioned the government to
remove the Indians (not just Cherokee, by the way).
Here's an interesting National Geographic article:
I'm not clear what you mean by "American history does not tell the truth..."
American history is just that -- history. "It" doesn't do anything. If you
mean "American historians..." Well, some history books, if you get the old
ones, had many accurate, and many fanciful, versions of how the European
settlers and their governments dealt with the people they found. And, it
wasn't pretty. On either side. There were terms like "noble savage" that
implied that Indians by definition could do no wrong. Then, there were the
terms like "savage" which implied that Indians could do no right. These
were pretty much gone where I went to school, but that doesn't mean they
were gone everywhere. I have a 1910 Atlas that has some really biased and
inaccurate information in it.
As the years and science have progressed, the understanding of the early
immigrants to North and South America has become more clear. They dealt with
each other as traders, and they took pains to protect themselves against
their enemies, who of course, took pains to defeat *their* enemies. And,
these were all Amerindians. No Europeans yet. Not that European immigration
changed that, it just changed whose side people were on. In the French and
Indian War (otherwise known as the "western front of the Seven Years War --
British against French), for example, the Cherokee and some others fought
for the British against the French. A few years later, in the Revolutionary
War, the Cherokee were again on the British side, but this time, against the
very settlers they had fought hand in hand with against the French.
I think you'd have to be a history major (and I'm not) or an
archaeologist/anthropologist to really get a good feel for this whole
But, I find it interesting that sometimes we take a segment of our ancestors
and their history and make it more important than the rest. I have friends
with perhaps 1/32 of their bloodlines from Ireland, who fight the battle
with the British every day! I have friends with Celtic ancestry who ignore
the rest of their ancestors completely -- even though they have very little
definable "Celtic." Heck, I have ancestors who were serfs (slaves) under
English and German lords. Later, some of their descendants owned slaves
from Africa. I would bet that some of them settled land that had been farmed
by Cherokee, Catawba (making pottery in North Carolina by 2400 BC), or other
tribes. My husband is descended from a tribe of Indians who lived up-river
from Jamestown. That doesn't mean he's applying for tribal membership.
I'm not a slave, and I'm not a slave owner. That's just part of my heritage.
I don't think of my ancestors as savages (as a group, anyway -- there are
some exceptions). I have no shame, pride, or self-pity from the past, for
people who came before me and lived their lives as best they could. I may
tease about "oh, I'm Scots you know, my ancestors would be rolling over in
their graves" when I'm not willing to pay a big price for something, but my
German and English ancestors are probably turning over in *their* graves,
since they were as tight with a dime as anyone else.
I've ancestors who lived on, and farmed the land for hundreds of years, only
to lose it in a war. I can't go back to the present owners of the property,
or the government, and demand restitution. We lost...the War.
As far as I'm concerned we're getting into some slippery ground when we
begin "owning" our ancestors and feeling what we think they may have felt,
and then acting on it. I remember saying something to my mother about how
she felt about something that had happened to her as a girl, implying that
she must have felt very badly. Her response was enlightening. She didn't
feel badly at all. She felt proud that she could overcome that problem.
I've learned not to ever say..."you must feel...," or "I know how you feel"
-- and I can't do that with my ancestors either.
If I've learned anything from my ancestors, it's that those who don't learn
from the past are doomed to repeat it. It may not quite look like the past,
but it'll be some version of it. That requires that we *know* that past, and
not just one person or group's "take."
So, I can't say how Barb aka Earthfeather feels, and wouldn't even try, but
at least I can help set the record straight, when someone makes remarks that
are demeaning to any group of people, when people take an "they owe me"
attitude, when people mis-represent history with any bias. The two most
badly abused words in the English language are "everyone" and "no one."
Pat (in Tucson)
From: [mailto:] On
Sent: Friday, October 17, 2008 3:25 AM
Subject: Re: [ROOTS-L] ROOTS Digest, Vol 3, Issue 629------Cherokee Removal
American history does not tell the truth about a people who had been here
for 13,000 to 15,000 years. It is not the Cherokee or the Native American
who were the savages.
Barb aka Earthfeather
Surviving Descendant of Lenni-Lenapa/Delaware, Shawnee,Powhatan, Cherokee
and Sauk & Fox
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