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Cherokees in Georgia, the Rose and the Trail of Tears

Updated on March 2, 2013
GarnetBird profile image

Gloria taught for many years, and also worked as a mental health group facilitator.

A bush of Cherokee Roses.
A bush of Cherokee Roses.
Some of them are quite pink.
Some of them are quite pink.
Lake Tugaloo, where the earliest Cherokee Villages were found (1450).
Lake Tugaloo, where the earliest Cherokee Villages were found (1450).
Close-up of a Cherokee Rose.
Close-up of a Cherokee Rose.
Grandmother Parnell, who had some Cherokee Ancestry.
Grandmother Parnell, who had some Cherokee Ancestry.
Grandmother Florence Parnell as a young girl. Note features.
Grandmother Florence Parnell as a young girl. Note features.
A Georgia Plaque on the Trail of Tears.
A Georgia Plaque on the Trail of Tears.
This plaque is from Arkansas.
This plaque is from Arkansas.
Village Creek trail in Arkansas; part of the original trail of tears.
Village Creek trail in Arkansas; part of the original trail of tears.

By Gloria Siess {"Garnetbird"}

There is a certain bent in some families to disregard and discredit one's ethnic roots. I call this the "Indian in the Cupboard" syndrome. My Great-Grandmother, Emma Sullivan was given Cherokee Papers to fill out, according to family history. She refused to acknowledge her bloodlines, and threw the papers away, stating "I'm ALL white."At the time Emma was married to a Prussian Immigrant named Fredrick Holt. Could racism have played a part in her decision? I tend to think so. Her skin was probably white. De Soto the explorer, commented that the Cherokee Nation had light and very dark-skinned members in its tribe, something he found remarkable enough to write about in his journals.

Anyone who has studied the Cherokee knows that they were an ancient tribe, among the so called "civilized" tribes which adopted European Ways readily. Before their forced removal from Georgia and other parts of the southeast, they had developed a newspaper, (The Cherokee Phoenix}, schools, and churches. They were not tent dwelling primitives, but a highly organized people, preferring the structure of the "long house."Many Cherokee women even wore long, European gowns. Some would go on to produce offspring, which years later would join the Oklahoma Ballet Company.

In Georgia, as well as other parts of the Southeast, all Cherokees would be forced to leave their beloved mountains for the hills of Oklahoma. At least 4,000 died along the bitter and heartless trail, mandated by the actions of President Andrew Jackson, who had no use for Indians, progressive or not. Gold had been discovered there as well, further sealing the sad fate of the Cherokee Nation forever.Some pioneer journals state that they could hear the Cherokees singing hymns as they walked the Trail of Tears. By 1838 very few were left in their native land. The Reservations of Oklahoma awaited them,where they would arrive torn and emotionally bleeding from the evacuation.

The Georgia Rose comes from this time of great suffering for the Nation. According to legend, every time a Cherokee Mother would weep, a white wild rose would spring up to console and cheer her on.

This Hub is my personal tribute to my ancestors whose blood was not formally acknowledged. If you observe the photo of my Grandmother, Florence Parnell, you will doubtless see the slightly slanted eyes and high cheekbones that often speak of Asian or Native American ancestry.{ Our old, proud British Bloodlines, going back to Durham England in the 1600's, did not allow for a native infusion. }The same spirit which defensively declared, "I'm all white," back in the 1800's is still very much with us today.

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    • GarnetBird profile imageAUTHOR

      Gloria Siess 

      7 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      Thank you for reading--it is encouraging!

    • stayingalivemoma profile image

      Valerie Washington 

      7 years ago from Tempe, Arizona

      very good information. i have cherokee from my mother's side and apache from my fathers side. I know the story of the Trail of Tears all too well. It is very sad. I thank you for keeping the Native American history alive.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Interesting

    • GarnetBird profile imageAUTHOR

      Gloria Siess 

      8 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      Your hub is an art form of lovely Native Am. Women and it validated me in some way, as some of the women look kind of like my cousins!Photo spreads teach people as well as words!Take care and thanks for reading my Hub!

    • sabrebIade profile image

      sabrebIade 

      8 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Yes it did and linked back to this Hub from my NA Hub.

      Though compared to this one, mine is kinda "fluff".

      But we have to hang together right?

    • GarnetBird profile imageAUTHOR

      Gloria Siess 

      8 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      Wow--thank you...this came more from my heart than my head and I hope it touches people. Thank all of you for your encouragement!

    • valeriebelew profile image

      valeriebelew 

      8 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      This is a very sad story, and all too common. My brother in law is also one fourth Cherekee, as his mother had a Cherekee mother. I decendents are French, as my name implies. I loved this bit of history, combined with a personal touch. Very special hub. (: v

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      What a dreadfully sad history. How many times have people forced others to leave their land? In South Africa this has happened countless times, and the result has always been tragic. And then the prejudice which causes people to deny their proud and wonderful heritage just adds to the tragedy.

      Thanks for sharing this tragic story. I'm going to link it to my Hub on forced removals - I hope you won't mind?

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • Putz Ballard profile image

      Putz Ballard 

      8 years ago

      Beautiful hub as is the photograph of your grandmother. From what I have been told, we have Cherokee blood running through our veins but no one can tell me any of the details. Great hub.

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