Sheila Williams ~ Singing Cloud
TRUTH BEGINS THE HEALING!
Crying, softly crying the little ones are so ill, burning now with fever this trail has been hardest on them, new born to five years they just do not understand, why there are no loving hands building shelter and taking time to care for them.
They are so brave as they march on most times asleep upon their feet, but the cold and snow is taking its toll and they are dying where they lay, so many months with no food and proper clothing has left them weak, and there is not one thing we can do about it.
How deep the hate is carried in the hearts of those who force this march, to watch as babies die choking to catch a breath, and never blink an eye, please tell me how they do it as I cannot understand, even for an enemy one feels a humans pain.
Their little bodies waste away right before our eyes, burning from the inside shaking as if they were freezing instead, no extra water is given, no time to rest and give care, no medicines are offered nor are we allowed to gather what little we might find.
Mothers and grandmothers fight as they walk to keep the young alive, fathers and grandfathers are beaten if they try to help, we are told; you stop only when we tell you either throw them from you or carry them until we stop for the night.
Built to protect the settlers from the Cherokee in 1814, Fort Marr is the only remaining portion of a Cherokee Removal Fort. This blockhouse, built in each corner of the standard removal fort featured gunports drilled every two feet or soHuddled together as close as they allow, sharing our body heat and giving all the water to them, the little ones are nested between their kin, this is our future and we are forced to watch it die, in agony they beg quietly in the tongue of their ancestors.
Etsi, elisi please to give me water, or even worse they are so ill they simply turn their heads and lie limp and lifeless, when a fire is allowed medicine bundles are emptied, the least of crumbs of any plant that might help is added to the water.
Prayers rise along that trail from beginning to the ending, so many of the children died there were no tears left for crying, in my dreams their laughter rings as they run the hills in freedom, sturdy brown and beautiful hair flying in the breezes.
Then I wake and hear them crying, softly crying, never lifting up their voices, even in their fevered minds the fear is the stronger, these who control our lives they know have no pity, both mother and child are afraid the soldiers will tire of the sounds and kill them for quiet.
Right or wrong it is the way that the Tsalagi were treated, hide the truth though you may and blame us for our weakness, we welcomed to our lands a new and strange People, helping them to survive and teaching them our secrets.
Death and hatred was our pay for being human, the lands they were greedy for was more important to them than children, into the cold and unforgiving nights they dragged us, locked away in their quick built forts and starved into submission.
Fort Gilmer: One hundred yards east is the site of Fort Gilmer, built in 1838 to garrison U.S. troops ordered to enforce the removal from this region of the last Cherokee Indians under terms of the New Echota treaty of 1835. One of seven [sic] such forts erected in the Cherokee territory, Gilmer was the temporary headquarters of Gen. Winfield Scott, under whose command the removal was effected. The reluctant Indians were brought here and guarded until the westward march beganWeak and tired we were forced to march across this great country, pushed onto lands that did not belong to them or our People, along that trail the children died and yes my friend they suffered, yet still today there is none to say here is the truth of history or that they are sorry.
They murdered a way of life with genocide most evil, killing first the old ones to take away the culture, then killed the little ones to take away our future, left shocked and dazed and half crazed with grieving, there answer was whiskey to warm us.
True it killed the pain and washed away the memories for a little while, a great danger there arose as it also released the anger, one more reason now they had to kill us, one more excuse to feed and soothe their conscious of the guilt that soon would eat them.
There lives on the legacy of those dead and dying children, along the trail there grows a rose to remind us, how many little ones began their long walk in the arms of a parent or grandparent, along that trail of shame of yonegas making?
How can you think there is no memory to linger, how can we forget something so devastating, when to this day you lay the blame upon my People, then force the children of those who survived to read the history your People have written?
The day that the truth is written and taught to every child, the day that true Hero’s are recognized who were homeland defenders, the day that you no longer think you had God given right to murder, that is the day when this country will begin to heal and not one moment before!
©Copyright February 29, 2008 by Sheila Williams ~ Singing Cloud