Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Trail of Tears + A Reminder about Tomorrow Evening's Forum at AICHO on Treaty Rights & More

"When a white army battles Indians and wins, it is called a great victory, but if they lose it is called a massacre."
 --Chiksika, Shawnee

The relationship between our U.S. government and the native peoples who occupied these lands before the coming of the Europeans has had many tragic moments. One of the most appalling was the removal of the Cherokee, Choctaw and others from their native homelands in the Southeast to a desolate barren region called Oklahoma.

In 1830 President Andrew Jackson championed the Indian Removal Act which was essentially a forced deportation. There were objections raised in some quarters. Chief Justice John Marshall of the Supreme Court stated that the act was unconstitutional. President Jackson said, essentially, "Try and stop me." In other words, the president had the army, the Court only had pieces of paper.

"The Chaos of Ghost Fish" -- painting by Moira Villiard
Alexis de Tocqeville, French philosopher who was studying the American experience at the time, wrote of this forced removal, "In the whole scene there was an air of ruin and destruction... one couldn't watch without feeling one's heart wrung."

Essentially it was a land grab and, amazingly, the country allowed this thing to happen. All through the 1830's tribal peoples were forced out and relocated. Thousands died along the way. As they made their way west from the Carolinas, however, many escaped and disappeared into the forested hills of Tennessee and fled north into Eastern Kentucky.

Today, most people give little thought to this forgotten incident. Yet we honor President Jackson with his portrait on our twenty dollar bill. No wonder history is so messy and confusing.

“Treaty Rights, Climate Justice and Decolonization”  

Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. three local organizations – AICHO, Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light, and TakeAction Minnesota – are hosting a free informational forum on the topics of “treaty rights, climate justice and decolonization.”  The event will feature four speakers who will share their knowledge and personal experiences about these topics. They include: Ricky Defoe, Lyz Jaakola, Niib Aubid, and Joseph Bauerkemper.

The panel will unpack the history and origin of treaty rights, how they have been used over time, and the role treaty rights currently play in resource extraction, resilience and relationships between Native and non-native peoples.

WHEN: August 15 at 7 pm
WHERE: AICHO – 212 W. 2nd Street, Duluth, MN.

Related Links
State of Minnesota, Fond du Lac Band reach agreement on treaty rights
Endangered, the current exhibition at AICHO
A Brief History of the Trail of Tears
The Trail of Tears and Its Aftermath

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