Some of my ancestors were here before the Europeans arrived. I’m one of those Americans who say, “I’m part Indian.” If I’m being horribly politically correct, I’m part Native American. Three tribes that I know of. As such, I found it particularly offensive when, this morning, I opened the newspaper. Yes, I still get a print copy. On the page with the puzzles I found the Word Sleuth puzzle with a list of Native American Treaties to be found in the scrambled letters. This is offensive to me because none of the treaties were of the Native Peoples making. All were penned by White Men. All were broken by White Men.
My Cherokee Choctaw great-grandmother hated Oklahoma and taught her children to hate it also. Why? Because her people were forced from the lands they peacefully inhabited for thousands of years into the wasteland that whites didn’t want, Oklahoma. The treaty said the Natives could live there in peace.Then, when white men decided they wanted the wasteland, they broke the treaty and forced the Natives onto reservations and starved them. In a twist of irony, she married a white man to escape that hell. Another woman made a similar choice more than a hundred years before. She married a Frenchman and left her people in Illinois to move to Louisiana. I know much less about her.
Broken treaties are the legacy of my European ancestors. Here is the list that was presented for my amusement this morning: Albany, Arakira, Chicago, Cusseta, Detroit, Fort Adams, Fort Clark, Fort Pitt, Hopewell, Lapwai, Mandan, New York, Saginaw, St. Mary’s, and Tellico. This is a short list of the broken treaties. There are many more. My kinfolk are still treated like outsiders in this land. They never claimed ownership, only stewardship during their time on the land. I am indignant that their lands were taken. I am indignant that they were slaughtered because they were in the way of the invading horde of white skinned devils. I am indignant that the treaties were broken. I am indignant that that list of treaties was used for amusement.
I am Walks Alone. My skin is white because she made a choice to leave the horrors of broken treaties and starvation. I am Walks Alone and I remember the women who made that choice.