MUSHY'S MOOCHINGS: SACRED TEARS

Thursday, December 28, 2006

SACRED TEARS

In a fascinating park called Spring Park, in the beautiful little town of Tuscumbia, Alabama, sits “Sacred Tears” a monument to the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole people that marched through this area on their way to Oklahoma on November 30, 1827. Some 90,000 Indian people were relocated during the 1830’s. The good people of Tuscumbia no doubt saved many lives through their generosity in giving food and clothing to Native Americans as they passed.

The monument was dedicated in September of 2003 and was funded by the motorcyclists who participate in the “Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride” and the Alabama-Tennessee Trail of Tears Corridor Association. The cast bronze statue is eight feet tall and weighs a ton. The model was Kristin Harrison of Sheffield, Alabama and was created by Branko Medenica.

Notice the tear on the cheek of the Indian woman holding a baby in one arm as the other rest on a cross of a deceased loved one.

Cold Water Falls stands as a backdrop to the “Scared Tears” statue and is the world’s largest man-made natural stone waterfall. The falls are 80 feet wide and 48 feet tall.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

That is so beautiful. Thank You for sharing it. I love Statues some have a lot of meaning.

EC said...

What is this??? Is this Mushy on BLOG EXPLOSION??

The addiction came back to ya huh? It's okay, we're all in the same boat ;)

Mushy said...

Shhhh...don't tell anyone! I'm losing my ass too!

Jose said...

This is a beautiful monument. Aren't us bikers a great bunch?

Rhea said...

Thanks for writing about Native American history. Few Americans ever pay any attention to this.
By the way, Mushy, I saw you mentioned on Bloggy Award. Congratulations!

Mushy said...

Thanks Rhea, and I have to mention Native Americans...I come from a long line of Cherokee decendants that began in North Carolina and went on down into Alabama. I actually had family in the Trail of Tears.

You can't see it in me, but quite evident in my dad, his dad and mother, and several of his brothers.

Story goes that they went to Oklahoma and then came back after a time. You can find graves around the reservations out there with our family name on them.

Anonymous said...

Ok, brace yourself. Get the popcorn. I talked about this in class today.

Some time around the late 1820s, gold was discovered on Cherokee land in Georgia. The Cherokee and other "civilized tribes" had gone to great lengths to assimilate into American society in the early 1800s, while holding on to and preserving their culture. They had come up with a written language, published newspapers and were sending their kids to school to learn their own language and English. They were also raising cattle, owning slaves and growing cotton, as the cotton economy spread in the south at that time. I think they were even beginning to envelope textile mills .

Anyway, the tribes were living on land established by treaty as theirs, and were turning those lands into separate nations within the states where they lived. The state governments hated that and wanted to nip it in the bud. Also, settlers wanted the valuable cotton land and gold. Their elected representatives went into action and congress passed the Indian Removal Act in 1830. President Andy Jackson (of Tennessee) found himself in a pinch. He liked the Indians a lot, but also recognized why the state governments and settlers wanted the land. The Cherokee government moved to Tennessee and launched a law suit that went all the way to the supreme court.

In one case, Worchester vs.. Georgia, the court sided with the Cherokee, saying that they had title to the land based on a treaty signed with George Washington in 1792, or thereabouts. Jackson found himself torn between sending the army in to protect the rights of the Indians, which would have been political suicide, or sending the army in to remove the Indians. He convinced himself that the Indians would be better off west of the Mississippi, far away from settlers and gold prospectors, and the result is the "Trail of Tears, where 1/4th of the people died of disease and other hardships while being removed to the West.

Not a happy story. The result is, like "The Mush Man", I and a lot of other southerners have stories in out past of Cherokee ancestors. My folks, on dads side, started in the Carolinas, went to Tennessee, and then to Alabama and Texas. I'm supposed to have a great, great, grandmother whose dad was a full blooded Cherokee. We've got no verification of it, but it's a common story in the family. There's a lot of that around the south.

See what happens when you rouse the history dude?

Anonymous said...

And the statue is cool. It's cool that we are recognising the history from more points of view these days. Healthy thing.

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute... maybe great, great, great grandmother. Way back.

Anonymous said...

Damn, I ment develop, not envelope. Sheesh. It'd be interesting to see someone envelope a textile mill, wouldn't it?

Mushy said...

Thank you Professor FHB, that was (seriously) enlightening. I always disliked Jackson for that one little deed in his history.

What's really interesting is how it used to be terrible to be a "red-skin", then a "half-breed". Now, we pride ourselves in having the ancestory! Maybe some day, when we're all multi-colored and blended mutts we can finally get down to loving one another for who we are inside.

Anonymous said...

My wife's Mom was part Chickasaw, there's (or had) family in Tennessee with names like, "Top" and Jessalee, Williebelle and "Doris" (a guy), and Blue (a gal)... It's all very colorful! :-)

EC said...

Hey! Just a quick note to let you know I moved - it may or may not be temporary, but for now this is where I'll be - www.meandmatt.blogspot.com

Take care!

Anonymous said...

LOTS of people hate Jacksons guts for that, but it isn't even the stupedest thing he did in his 8 years. I mean, no land wars in Asia or anything, but still.

And the ancestry is cool, so long as the tribe doesn't show up at yer house lookin' for the keys, for reparations (not likely). Once the ownership of the land was settled and they were relegated to reservations, we could feel free to apretiate them and talk about how sad it is that they got screwed. But I ain't movin' back to Europe.

I think if all the white people and black people who wish they were Indians could wake up one day and be Indians, full blooded, Indians would run this country.

Mushy said...

If I could go back in time, I'd like to live as an American Indian a 100 years before Columbus landed. Good and bad times all - that was when real men lived in this country.

Anonymous said...

Yes sir. Yer right here (finger pointing at forhead).