Wednesday, August 15, 2012

People of MA - Standing up for Cherokee Rights Part 1

While researching yesterday, I stumbled upon the Indian Memorial submitted by the people of Massachusetts and published in the Cherokee Phoenix, April 7, 1830. I knew about this Memorial, but had not thought about it for a long time, long before the Elizabeth Warren issue came to light. 

For those of you who don’t know, “memorial letters are statements of fact directed to a legislature as the basis of a petition or accompanying a petition.”

Though the memorial letter submitted by the people of Massachusetts was in support for the Cherokee Nation and their right to remain in their homeland, there was another message in the memorial that still applies today. That message was that the Cherokee people should be free from the trespasses of other people.
“We believe there is no place within the territorial limits of our nation, where Indians can be protected in their possessions, unless the strong barrier of law can be interposed between them and their neighbors.”

Elizabeth Warren, one of the candidates for Senate in Massachusetts, falsely claimed to be Cherokee in order to give her fledgling career a boost. She started the claim, moved into the Ivy League as a professor and then moved to the pinnacle of “success”, apparently, by obtaining permanent employment at Harvard Law School. Now she says she will be the first Senator from the state of MA to have Native American ancestry if she is elected.

Elizabeth Warren’s genealogy and family history has been done. She has no Cherokee or Native American ancestry. Yet she feels she has the right to claim it if she wants, as if our identity is free for the taking.

Over time, Indians were dispossessed of nearly everything they had in the guise of building a new nation, the United States of America. But at one time, the people of the state of Massachusetts supported the Cherokee people’s right to retain what was rightly theirs. Those same people of Massachusetts were correct in saying there was no place where Indians could be protected in their “possessions." Now not even in their own state.

Today, Cherokees don’t have land left to take. We don’t have our homeland in the east and we have lost nearly all of our land acquired in exchange for that homeland. Now, the only thing we have left is our identity. And non-Cherokees, like Elizabeth Warren, are trying to take that.

As I watch the Senate race in Massachusetts where Elizabeth Warren is viewed favorably by so many, I wonder if anyone remembers how the people of the Commonwealth were once defenders of Cherokee rights . I wonder if the people of Massachusetts remember that proud moment in history they share with the Cherokee people. I wonder if they realize it could have been their ancestors who were speaking out for mine. I wonder if they even care.

According to their governor, Deval Patrick, they don’t.


Those are my thoughts for today.
Thanks for reading.

copyright 2012, Polly's Granddaughter - TCB

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