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The typical story about the "Trail of Tears" speaks to the horrors of uprooting "Native Americans" from their homes in the Southeast of the United States. The story that rarely gets told is the tears shed by people of African descent who were enslaved within these same tribes of "Native Americans."
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The images presented are from the vast files of microfilm stored at the National Archives repository in San Bruno, California. What is striking about the first image is the note that everyone on it EXCEPT the SLAVES were "emigrating" to Indian Territory, now the state of Oklahoma, were actually doing so without the aid of the United States government.
Without a doubt there were probably obstacles to their travel it does beg the question of just how hard it was when they brought numerous slaves with them?
There is little doubt that many in the tribe suffered through the removal period even those who did so on their own. However, it appears tribal historians continue to engage in a revision of their history. By omitting the fact the Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw brought with them chattel slaves they continue to pander to the public about their oppression while never admitting their oppression of blacks.
If you paid attention to the historian in the video she made a point about how hard the "Trail of Tears" had been on the "tribe." She also made a point the installation was done specifically to solicit empathy from visitors who would view the exhibit. Yet again, it is important to put this history in it's proper context. There were slaves on that trail that shed tears based on their bondage.
Their families suffered as much if not more than those who "forcibly" brought them west as slaves. Perhaps visitors to this "cultural center" will be exposed to all the history of the Chickasaw tribe and their infamous "Trail of Tears."
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