Every nation in this entire hemisphere has experienced a “trail of tears”, some to the point of extinction.
Languages and entire belief systems and customs have been lost or incrementally assimilated, and not as the result of a naturally occurring event.
Some trails may seem more brutal than others, capture the public’s attention, but the common thread of misery and suffering was not and is not diminished for the survivors, nor the brutality – the same loss of loved ones, the same misery and suffering, the same devastation and impact measured in blood and tears.
As a people we didn’t lose a job or a home, we lost everything, and yet to regain any realistic or equitable measure of it.
In this “land of the free” we weren’t even allowed to practice our ceremonial beliefs – nor allowed to keep our children or instruct them in our ways.
Our children, who were shipped off to boarding schools, punished for speaking their own language, shorn like sheep, and adopted or placed in foster homes by the thousands.
We could join the military, risk and lose lives and yet not be considered “equal” enough to vote until nearly the mid point of the twentieth century.
No genocidal effort of conquest has ever taken place anywhere on an entire hemisphere that compares in scale to what took place here.
We have been characterized as governmental “wards”, enemy combatants, uncivilized, and somehow a lesser people – but I say in view of the history if the term uncivilized is to be applied to anyone it cannot rightfully be applied to us with clear conscience.
Now it seems as though we are expected to put it all behind us, to “get over it” as some have told us – I doubt as long as the history and memories exist that is possible.
Maybe in time if the present conditions moderate we will arrive at a point when we are able to compartmentalize the past and what will become the past, but one thing we must never do is forget, for as said in the “On This Day” blog, having been introduced to the blood and savagery of the age of steel we may never be the same.