For every indigenous nation in this hemisphere there has been a trail of tears, for many it is ongoing.
For some people both of, and not of, a specific nation the focus is restricted to their own or the most publicized-but the issues and reality are far greater.
This trail of tears has also been a road to extinction for more than a few tribes-people, culture, and languages consigned to the dustbin of history.
Well and good to support any nation-better to understand the nations, and the issues, encompass all-a history that is shared-a present that is shared.
One such trail of tears was that of the Potawatomi, more commonly referred to as The Trail of Death, as they all should be referred to- who following the Indian Removal Act of 1830, were removed from their homes in 1838 for a sixty day relocation march from Indiana through Illinois and Missouri to Kansas.
Estimates vary as to the number of deaths that resulted but it is known that children comprised the greatest number.
One of countless chapters in a shared common experience-one that all should be aware of.
A trail with twists and turns characterized by branches leading off in various directions- one of which has been the theft of children by so called child welfare-a theft visited upon all the nations by a serial and equal opportunity offender.
Another has been the ongoing theft of land via a variety of mechanisms-such as the governments thinly veiled “land trust” policy.
Despite past enmities, tribalism, the strife and territorial disputes that still exist in varying degrees to this day and the failure to learn the lessons they provided the continuing shadow of oppression remains, and now, as then, it falls upon all the nations.
The overview and intent of government policies made no distinctions, they were singularly about acquisition, death, and assimilation- history has served to illustrate that.
Just as it has that alliances made once the tipping point was reached failed to avert what became an inevitability, current policies and the realities of them should clearly define now in the aftermath that no nation is an island-a linkage exists just as it does in any ecosystem. Disrupt the balance in any part of it and the impact is felt by all.
I am inclined to view the nations as a whole as a demographic ecosystem subject to external influences-what these external influences are and how they are dealt with defines the overall health and well being.
The nations individually, and in their entirety, can be likened to a body-when a viral influence is introduced the body suffers, is weakened, and becomes vulnerable.
These things can be mitigated but made more difficult when they are propagated from within- the manner in which viral entities work.
Alcohol, drugs, gangs, and the like are a virus sweeping the nations, much the same as is tribal leadership among which are some who place their welfare above others and in doing so favor nepotism and corruption.
Likewise there are self appointed leaders whose careers have been clearly defined by the tenets of greed and personal promotion.
Today the Potawatomi number around forty thousand and are scattered predominantly throughout states such as Wisconsin, Kansas, Michigan, Oklahoma, and even Canada.
The Potawatomi -People of the place of the fire -a fire that has resisted being extinguished.