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Historical Fiction: Native American Genius; The Road Less Traveled

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In the early part of the Nineteenth Century the Cherokee Tribe was an anomaly among native peoples. By 1828, their commerce and culture had achieved parity with white civilization in the New World. They had managed to survive as a nation long after nearly every other tribe had been destroyed or banished from the United States. However, the personal conflict between three m In the early part of the Nineteenth Century the Cherokee Tribe was an anomaly among native peoples. By 1828, their commerce and culture had achieved parity with white civilization in the New World. They had managed to survive as a nation long after nearly every other tribe had been destroyed or banished from the United States. However, the personal conflict between three men from disparate backgrounds, who became comrades in arms and eventually enemies, now threatened to change that forever. Kah-nung-da-cla-geh, later known as Major Ridge, was the most revered and wisest of the Cherokee People, a full-blooded chief. John Ross, the protégée of Kah-nung-da-cla-geh, held the position as Principle Chief of the Cherokee Tribe for over thirty years. The final player in this drama was no less than the President of the United States, Andrew Jackson. Each of these men was absolutely convinced he was doing what was right, but in life perspective is everything. Ironically, it was Chief John Ross, only one eighth Cherokee and seven-eighths Scottish, who insisted his people stand against President Jackson and not cede an inch of land even if it meant their destruction. Jackson saw the Cherokee tribe as an obstruction to the fulfillment of the manifest destiny of the United States. He knew it was divine providence that the borders of the fledging republic should span from sea to sea. If that meant moving the Cherokee across the Mississippi, then so be it. Even in old age Jackson persisted in his resolve that he had chosen the best course for the Indians, “It was for their own good. They would have perished under the onslaught of the inevitable American migration. It was the duty of the President of the United States to preserve the Cherokee People and make room for progress”. Tragically, the principal player in this epic tale, Kah-nung-da-cla-geh, who had led his people on a path of assimilation into American society and had preserved the integrity of their tribe and lands long after all the other native peoples east of the Mississippi had been pushed west, would die in infamy. By 1836, he realized his people would face complete destruction if they did not sell their ancient lands in exchange for a reservation across the Mississippi, so he signed a treaty that violated the “Blood Law”, which he had devised ten years earlier. His life turned into a journey from hero to traitor, from Kah-nung-da-cla-geh to Major Ridge. His choices may be questioned, but not his integrity nor his love for his people. He profited not from his moral decision; it only caused immeasurable pain and suffering for his family and him.


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In the early part of the Nineteenth Century the Cherokee Tribe was an anomaly among native peoples. By 1828, their commerce and culture had achieved parity with white civilization in the New World. They had managed to survive as a nation long after nearly every other tribe had been destroyed or banished from the United States. However, the personal conflict between three m In the early part of the Nineteenth Century the Cherokee Tribe was an anomaly among native peoples. By 1828, their commerce and culture had achieved parity with white civilization in the New World. They had managed to survive as a nation long after nearly every other tribe had been destroyed or banished from the United States. However, the personal conflict between three men from disparate backgrounds, who became comrades in arms and eventually enemies, now threatened to change that forever. Kah-nung-da-cla-geh, later known as Major Ridge, was the most revered and wisest of the Cherokee People, a full-blooded chief. John Ross, the protégée of Kah-nung-da-cla-geh, held the position as Principle Chief of the Cherokee Tribe for over thirty years. The final player in this drama was no less than the President of the United States, Andrew Jackson. Each of these men was absolutely convinced he was doing what was right, but in life perspective is everything. Ironically, it was Chief John Ross, only one eighth Cherokee and seven-eighths Scottish, who insisted his people stand against President Jackson and not cede an inch of land even if it meant their destruction. Jackson saw the Cherokee tribe as an obstruction to the fulfillment of the manifest destiny of the United States. He knew it was divine providence that the borders of the fledging republic should span from sea to sea. If that meant moving the Cherokee across the Mississippi, then so be it. Even in old age Jackson persisted in his resolve that he had chosen the best course for the Indians, “It was for their own good. They would have perished under the onslaught of the inevitable American migration. It was the duty of the President of the United States to preserve the Cherokee People and make room for progress”. Tragically, the principal player in this epic tale, Kah-nung-da-cla-geh, who had led his people on a path of assimilation into American society and had preserved the integrity of their tribe and lands long after all the other native peoples east of the Mississippi had been pushed west, would die in infamy. By 1836, he realized his people would face complete destruction if they did not sell their ancient lands in exchange for a reservation across the Mississippi, so he signed a treaty that violated the “Blood Law”, which he had devised ten years earlier. His life turned into a journey from hero to traitor, from Kah-nung-da-cla-geh to Major Ridge. His choices may be questioned, but not his integrity nor his love for his people. He profited not from his moral decision; it only caused immeasurable pain and suffering for his family and him.

22 review for Historical Fiction: Native American Genius; The Road Less Traveled

  1. 5 out of 5

    ronelle van wyk

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Piette

  4. 4 out of 5

    Larry Murley

  5. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

  6. 4 out of 5

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  7. 4 out of 5

    Terika Carter

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Foster

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tara Kendrick

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kris

  11. 5 out of 5

    Edie2

  12. 4 out of 5

    patricia diskin

  13. 5 out of 5

    Diane

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joseph-Daniel Peter Paul Abondius

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kari Bargas

  16. 4 out of 5

    SherryDobiArrasmith

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sue Murphy

  19. 4 out of 5

    Holly

  20. 5 out of 5

    Leanne Roberts

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sandy Stephan-Strombom

  22. 4 out of 5

    Susan Ogram

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