Saturday 8 February 2014

The Cherokee

I have been thinking so much lately about the Cherokee Indians. Although the native Indian people belonged to many tribes, I have been led to focus particularly on the Cherokee and their journey.
I felt angered at the modern day movie depictions of the beautiful Cherokee people. But of course we know that history cannot and should not be learned on a T.V screen - history is made up of moments, complex and simple. Relationships underlie emotional pursuits and personal realities form peoples decisions, how can we ever understand this! We should not even try.
Anyhow - while I was researching the Cherokee Indians, I discovered one of their stories which touched me deeply. The Cherokee were forced from their lands by the new "Americans" aka Europeans who were hell - bent on power, and they were forced to move to a land that they had never seen before. Their own lands had been inhabited by their own people for generations and generations, their lands were fertile and prosperous -  perfect prey for greedy men.
So the Cherokee were forced from their homesteads which connected them to their ancestors and their family members and they were forced to trek some 1000 miles over a 10 year period on to lands they had never seen before. The journey they walked became known as the trail of tears, it is said that the women of the tribe became sad and started to neglect their children. Despair set in and so the elders of the tribe went out and prayed, prayed that a sign would be given so that the women would regain hope and strength so that they could look after the children again. The women shed tears for their kinsmen who were dieing daily, in one of the groves on the journey many Indians wept. After the elders prayed, the following morning the Cherokee awoke to continue their journey and in the grove where they had been crying - miraculously there appeared beautiful roses in the exact places where the women had been crying.
The roses were a magnificent white colour - symbolic of their tears, while the inside was gold, representing the gold stolen by the white man. The petals budded in a circle of seven, the seven petals represented the seven Cherokee tribes who made up the Cherokee people.The Cherokee rose was enough to strengthen the spirits of the tribes women and give them strength for their journey, today this miracle flower, which I liken to the manna from heaven - still buds along the trail of tears which the Cherokee journeyed onward to Oklahoma.

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