Among many other subjects related to the history of the Trail of Tears, the subject of myth and myth-information stands quite relevant.
As noted in an earlier post, the most famous eye-witness account of the Trail has been found to be fraudulent. How do things like this become accepted fact?
Ultimately, some historians, who have long been considered to be The Keepers of Historical Truth, have let us down. Certainly all historians have a daunting job, to convey some sense of history, often from very limited data.
In the same way that we turn over much of the oversight of our country to elected representatives, we turn over the oversight of our history to historians. We can trust them, can’t we? Dare we?
How much confidence would you have in someone who told you…
“I’m not a historian”. “I’m a storyteller. I happen to work in American history. I’ve got a lot of interest in telling complicated and intertwined and good stories in American history” “We … sort of backfill (the story)… with a lot of intellectual stuff.”?
Now, how would you feel knowing that, that person is probably the most, well-known “historian” on the planet and someone whose works are widely used in classrooms?
Would it surprise you to know that one of, if not, the most often quoted and accepted eyewitness account of the tragic Trail of Tears; one that is used in textbooks, history books, scholarly reports, and museums; is a fraudulent and fictitious account of historical events, and disproven by forensic evidence?
As more and more of the documents were recovered, they chronicled the fracture, collapse, and destruction of the Cherokee Nation, ending with the tragic Trail of Tears.
Certainly there were outside forces at work on the Cherokee Nation and these are widely known, but what are almost never mentioned are quotes like these:
Elias Boudinot, former Editor of the Cherokee Phoenix Newspaper, talks about external and internal forces at work, “What is termed the “Cherokee question” may be considered in two points of view: the controversy with the States and the General Government, and the controversy among the Cherokees themselves.”
Boudinot continues about censure and manipulation of the Press, “we will state what we suppose to be the great cause of our present difficulties — our present dissensions. A want of proper information among the people. We charge Mr. Ross with having deluded them with expectations incompatible with, and injurious to, their interest. He has prevented the discussion of the most vital importance. By that means the people have been kept ignorant of their true condition. They have been taught to feel and expect what could not be realized, and what Mr. Ross himself must have known would not be realized. This great delusion has lasted to this day.
Chief John Ross justifies censuring information and discussion in the Phoenix newspaper when he writes, “The toleration of diversified views to the columns of such a paper would not fail to create fermentation and confusion among our citizens, and in the end prove injurious to the welfare of the nation.”
Elijah Hicks, Chief Ross’ son-in-law and incoming Editor of the Cherokee Phoenix Newspaper echoes Chief Ross’ censure of information, “It must be borne in mind, that the authorities of the nation are opposed to the introduction of controversial matter in the Phoenix (newspaper)”
“To… be compatible with the policy of the nation, and my bounden duty. Therefore, I have thought it expedient to withhold its publication.”
Boudinot counters with a plea for a free and open press, “I cannot agree with the principal chief in regard to the admission of “diversified views” in the columns of the paper. I am for making the situation of the Cherokees a question of momentous interest, subject to a free and friendly discussion among ourselves, as the only way to ascertain the will of the people as to what ought to be done in the last alternative.”
According to these Cherokee quotations, the citizens remaining within the Nation, in 1838, had been influenced to abandon the foundational principles of their traditional culture and society; and were facing the loss of their nation. Many of the factors that led to the Trail of Tears came from within – as citizens were prevented access to the truth by a covertly manipulated media.
Read the actual words of the men and women who were there; then make up your own mind on this and many other surprising revelations documented in the book.
“Hope you know that your story shook me to my core.” –
(A comment from someone who heard just the first five minutes of the talk.)
“Investigating a Cherokee Legend”
Free/Open to the Public
Saturday, September 21, 2019 at 2 PM – 4 PM
Sponsored by The Stamp Creek History & Heritage Center. Come join us at the American Legion in Cartersville, GA at 525 Martin Luther King Jr St., behind Hobby Lobby.
Does an earlier genesis of a two hundred year old Cherokee legend foretell the future as well as it captures the past? Join us for this exciting story!
Larry Vogt, historical researcher, writer and avocational archaeologist joins us with a new, fascinating story of the Cherokee. Larry has intensely researched early Cherokee County, Georgia history and has written five books: The Hidden History of Lake Allatoona, The Curious Disappearance of Fort Buffington, Dautzenleins: Making Sense of Things, Trail of Tears Round-up Routes: Fort Buffington and Sixes Encampment to Fort Wool at New Echota, and Investigating the Legend: Curious Documents Echo, Ominous Warnings from the Past.
His quest to locate the lost site of Fort Buffington and local Trail of Tears routes has been featured in newspaper and magazine stories.
Larry writes and speaks about the value of understanding history. Through Vogt-Dautzenlein Historical Research, he works to recover and document our lost heritage.
Come join us for this free, open to the public discussion and learn some great history, and hear about Larry’s new book!
Sponsored by The Stamp Creek History & Heritage Center. Come join us at the American Legion in Cartersville, GA, at 525 Martin Luther King Jr St., behind Hobby Lobby.