Trail of Tears | Tom Camfield

Tom Camfield
Posted 2/22/23

THE CLAIM ABOVE, OF COURSE, IS STARKLY AT ODDS, “not only with the history of westward expansion but with the history of Florida; thousands of Native Americans were forcibly relocated from the …

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Trail of Tears | Tom Camfield


THE CLAIM ABOVE, OF COURSE, IS STARKLY AT ODDS, “not only with the history of westward expansion but with the history of Florida; thousands of Native Americans were forcibly relocated from the region with the Indian Removal Act of 1830,” Cobb said, and it bears repeating.
“In general, the governor’s objective is seemingly to provide white Floridians, from a young age, with a version of the past that they can be comfortable with regardless of whether it’s true.”

Then, as now, it was all about greed — and about the power of money (and white superiority) when President Andrew Johnson signed the Indian Removal act of 1830 (210 years after the landing of the Mayflower).

“Trail of Tears” in U.S. history (including Encyclopedia Brittanica and elsewhere), refers to the forced relocation during the 1830s of Eastern Woodlands Indians of the Southeast region of the United States (including Cherokee, Creek, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole, among other nations) to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River. Estimates based on tribal and military records suggest that approximately 100,000 indigenous people were forced from their homes during that removal era, and that some 15,000 died during the journey west. The term Trail of Tears invokes the collective suffering those people experienced, although it is most commonly used in reference to the removal experiences of the Southeast Indians generally and the Cherokee Nation specifically.

Indian ownership of land has continued to shrink over the years, thanks to white ownership of government — even from that provided by original treaty. To place it further in perspective, the Trail of Tears era pre-dated the official founding of Port Townsend by some 20 years.

The physical trail of the 1830s consisted of several routes and stretched some 5,045 miles across portions of nine states (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Tennessee). “The roots of forced relocation lay in greed,” again quoting Brittanica. “The British Proclamation of 1763 designated the region between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River as Indian Territory. Although that region was to be protected for the exclusive use of indigenous peoples, large numbers of Euro-American land speculators and settlers soon entered.

"For the most part, the British and, later, U.S. governments ignored these acts of trespass.”

The Brittanica also notes that in 1829 a gold rush occurred on Cherokee land in Georgia. Vast amounts of wealth were at stake: At their peak, Georgia mines produced approximately 300 ounces of gold a day.

“Land speculators soon demanded that the U.S. Congress devolve to the states the control of all real property owned by tribes and their members. That position was supported by President Jackson who was himself an avid speculator. Congress complied by passing the Indian Removal Act (1830). The act entitled the president to negotiate with the eastern nations to effect their removal to tracts of land west of the Mississippi and provided some $500,000 for transportation and for compensation to native landowners.”

“Jackson reiterated his support for the act in various messages to Congress, notably ‘On Indian Removal’ (1830) and ‘A Permanent Habitation for the American Indians’ (1835), which illuminated his political justifications for removal and described some of the outcomes he expected would derive from the relocation process.”

Parallels in slavery, butchery and various forms of enforced racial inferiority also dominate early U.S. Black history and could easily be admitted to through accurate history rather than buried in an effort to beautify white dominance. But, then again, white superiority often is instead swept under the right corner of the rug.

In some states, official boards are “gerrymandering" early school curriculums ii favor of white superiority — in pretty much the same way red-state and county representatives are changing the boundaries of voting districts.

Getting hooked on genealogy can personalize history more thoroughly than it is taught generally at various educational levels, and I will attempt to find an example from one of my earlier books of 1996 and use it in a future blog.