MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

April 2, 2014

Reflect on, learn from Trail tragedy

History will record the Trail of Tears as the forced removal of Native Americans from their homelands.

We should remember it as one of the most tragic examples of governmental racism in our nation’s history.

President Andrew Jackson ordered the removal of Natives from their ancestral homes because of the ever-expanding settlements and land speculators.

Nearly 4,000 Cherokees died on the Trail from the southeastern United States to Oklahoma.

The end of the trail came 175 years ago this year.

The Cherokee Nation has grown in Oklahoma, proving a never-ending spirit and determination that lives on today.

Cherokee Principal Chief Bill John Baker looked to future generations to learn from their ancestors.

“Our ancestors, carrying only what they had on their back, survived, then thrived, in what is now Oklahoma,” Baker said. “If we can only pass that to our children. If they only knew what our ancestors went through, then our children will know they can do anything.

“They can survive. They can thrive.”

While we reflect on the tragedy, we applaud the tenacity of the Cherokee Nation.

We hope young people heed Baker’s message.

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