All Indians are not Created Equal & HEROES
(Photo: Home of Elias Boudinout, aka Buck Watie, circa 1830, New Ochaota, Ga.)
Today we saw this headline on an internet news discussion forum,
"Triple fence along border would split Indian nation - 'We didn't ask for this,' tribal chairwoman says"
Soon a battle ensued with one side insisting, "Poor Indians", and gave the morbid, often embellished history of their mistreatment by the white man.
The other faction of posters claim Indians are and were lazy, troublemakers and they deserve zip.
Both wrong. And both right. Neither side got it completely. Here's one comment:
"But I do acknowlege what was done was wrong. And we should never disparage the American Indians, and the way they are now, because of what we did to them. Truth and knowlege can help us to help them rebuild their lives, regain their heritage, their pride, and be self sufficient."
What "we" did to them? WE???
There's the problem. When do "WE" get to stop paying for the sins of our fathers (whether we were related by anything but color or not)? Where is there law, common or written, of God or man, that says that a white baby born tomorrow owes a red baby born the same day, ANYTHING?
If the Indian has "pride", he doesn't need anyone's "help" finding his heritage, which most of us share neither by blood or memory, much less our"rebuilding" his life for him. THAT kind of "help" is exactly what the US government imposed on the natives that the poster tries to defend. They thought they knew what was "best" for the Indian in 1838, too.
Always quoted is the mortality and suffering on the Trail of Tears that removed the Cherokee to Indian Territory in Oklahoma in 1838-39. My great grgrandmother died weeks after the journey. She could not face the barren territory that was not her lifelong home. She was ill and she could not adapt.
Most of us think about that time in history of uncivilized, but humble Indians with a loin cloth, teepee, some arrows, a pony and a squaw. By the way, before the Cherokee adopted constitutional law, they were a matriarchal society.
All Indians are not created equal. The experience of some was not the experience of all. Just as today, we have different cultures, dialects, beliefs depending on where in this country we live, whether we are rural or urban also defines us. Some of us wouldn't adapt if we were uprooted and moved across the country against our will, either.
The Cherokee were embroiled in a civil war of their own long before the trail of tears. Generations earlier, the Cherokee had submitted to the idea that to prosper was to adapt to the ruling class views of "civilized". Most of them. Many remained "pure" blooded, unyielding and self destructive. They were the ones that died by the thousands on the Trail of Tears.
My ancestors were part of the faction, the Ridge Party, that chose to prosper, embrace American society. By the time they were forced to leave their homes in Georgia, they ran a newspaper, printed in English and Cherokee. They had plantations and homes designed by architects in Europe. They dressed in imported silk and satin. And they owned black slaves. Those slaves will tell you an astonishing story unlike you've read before, in their own words.
They were aristocratic Southerners, devoutly Christian and they took ' American' names, like James Madison, George Washington, William Penn. One could say they "assimilated" too well. But it didn't matter when those in power wanted what they had. It wasn't because they were "red" and the power was "white". That happens to be the way it turned out that time in history. There had been just as much "red" on "red" destruction that carried on past our own civil war within the Cherokee Tribe. Two ancestors were assasinated by their "own" for signing a treaty with the dreaded "white man".
The fact is, "WE" were no part of any of it. There were hundreds of personal motives,on all sides, many honorable, many horrible, just as there are facing us all today. All Indians were not created equal. Neither are the cultures of today.
My grgrUncle led a wagon train on the Trail of Tears and before leaving they shipped their belongings by barge to lighten their load for provisions and charted their own trail. They took their own doctor with them on the journey of 3 months in the worst of winter. They lost 21 people, compared to the hundreds on other trains that bothered with no preparations or foresight and waited in stockades to be herded out to die in the snow. Their lack of education, which many refused, did not aid their fateful advance.
"The Bell Detachment traveled 707 miles in 89 days and disbanded at Vinyard Post Office (present-day Evansville) in Washington County, Arkansas, on January 7, 1839. Twenty-one of the 660 Cherokee Indians who began the journey in Tennessee died en route."Adapting and "assimilation" didn't stop the corrupt government of Georgia and the United States from forcing the Cherokee from their lands and homes at New Ochoata, Ga. which was the first place the Cherokee had been removed to generations earlier. Those "savages" were educated better than most people of their time, much of it in Indian schools, which were also not created "equal.* Some were excellent.
A typical home of New Ochota was described by a white New England father in law in a letter in 1829 , 10 years before the Trail of Tears.
"She has a large and convenient framed house, two story, 60 by 40 ft. on the ground, well done off and well furnished with comforts of life. They get their supplies of clothes and groceries—they have their year's store of teas, clothes, paper, ink, etc.,—from Boston, and their sugars, molasses, etc., from Augusta; they have two or three barrels of flour on hand at once.
"This neighborhood is truly an interesting and pleasant place; the ground is smooth and level as a floor—the centre of the Nation—a new place laid out in city form, —one hundred lots, one acre each—a spring called the public spring, about twice as large as our saw-mill brook, near the centre, with other springs on the plat; six framed houses in sight, besides a Council House, Court House, printing office, and four stores all in sight of Boudinot's house."
By the time the Trail of Tears tragedy occurred, the end of the "Indian nation" as it was a hundred years before was well assured. All natives aren't created equal, and neither are cultures. It was those first welcoming, foolish savages in the 1600's that needed a decent immigration policy!
Thanks to Casey Wian of CNN's Lou Dobbs for contacting us on our important story about Mexican Drug Cartels operating in Siskiyou County, Calif. Sheriff Rick Riggins is our hero.
Trackback TownCrier articles on marijuana farms of the Pacific NW.
Sheriff’s office honored
By BRAD SMITH
Daily News Staff Writer
Published: Monday, October 23, 2006 6:17 PM CDT
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Siskiyou Daily News photo/Brad Smith Sheriff Rick Riggins holds the plaque that was presented to the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office last Monday. The SCSO and several other law enforcement agencies were recoginized for their efforts in combatting cartel-operated marijuana “plantations.”
YREKA — In Medford, Ore. last Monday, Oregon Republican Congressman Greg Walden presented Siskiyou County Sheriff Rick Riggins and Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters each with a plaque, commending both men and their agencies for their efforts in combatting drug cartels.
For Riggins, it was a proud moment for the entire Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office.
“I’m proud to say that I work with the best people in law enforcement,” Riggins said. “This department has worked hard, very hard, to eradicate these illegal marijuana grows.”
Both Riggins and Winters have forged an unique pact between their agencies. The sheriffs decided to combine their numbers and resources in an effort to fight encroaching drug cartels.
“What Sheriff Winters and I did was the best thing to do. In a time of slashed budgets and limited finding from government grants, teaming up against the cartels was the most logical choice,” Riggins said.
It was a choice that caught the attention of many, including Walden and even CNN’s Lou Dobbs.
Dobbs sent a news team to chronicle a raid here in Siskiyou County. That story aired on CNN, in two different segments, garnering national attention.
“That media coverage showed the nation the level of the cartels’ incursion,” Riggins said. “It showed how brazen they are and what we’re up against.”
Many took notice — including Congressman Greg Walden.
On the House floor, Walden said the “task force of over 175 people and 19 agencies led by Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters and Siskiyou County Sheriff Rick Riggins dealt a telling blow on the cartels’ illicit activities on our public lands.”
That “telling blow” included depriving the cartels of more than $320 million dollars and several tons of marijuana plants.
According to Riggins and other law enforcement officials, most of that money goes into the cartels’ other venture: Methamphetamine labs operating in Mexico. Current intelligence indicates that the cartels are transporting meth across the border.
“We’ve sent the cartels a message,” Riggins said. “If they try to operate here in our county — we will come after them. We will shut them down.”
For Riggins, it’s also a matter of public safety.
“The cartels are operating on public lands,” he said. “Hikers and hunters are at risk because some of them can accidentally stumble onto marijuana growing operation.” Riggins said that there have been documented accounts of people encountering such operations.
“Innocent people have been hurt,” Riggins said. “The cartels are ruthless. They don’t care who gets in their way. The cartels will intimidate, hurt or even kill anyone who poses a threat to their operations.”
Which leads to the possibility of escalation. With the cartels’ loss of tons of marijuana — hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth — will they go further to protect their operations with more lethal traps or even put up a fight?
“It’s a possibility,” Riggins stated. “It’s always a possibility. We’ve found weapons and ammunition in the past. The growers ran — didn’t put up a fight at all. Will they change their tactics? They might. But our Special Response Team is trained for that sort of thing as is the Jackson SRT.”
Riggins added that the resolve of the SCSO and its allies is stronger than the cartels’.
“This is our home,” he said. “It’s not their home, their land. We don’t want them here. We will hit them hard at any given opportunity and keep hitting them until they stop.”
It’s a fight that Riggins isn’t fighting alone.
“You know, when I received this plaque, I did it for the entire department, for each and everyone of my deputies and detectives. I do work with the best,” he said.
Working with people like that, Riggins feels, is the proudest thing he’s ever done and he doesn’t need a plaque to tell him that.