By Gary Lloyd
The Cherokee Nation has responded to a bust-through banner displayed at the McAdory vs. Pinson Valley Class 5A playoff football game last week.
The banner referenced the opposing team’s mascot, the Indians, by displaying the message “Hey Indians, get ready to leave in a Trail of Tears Round 2.”
In the 1830s, the Cherokee Nation and other tribes were forcibly removed from their homelands in Alabama and other states in the Southeast, and marched hundreds of miles to Indian Territory, now present-day Oklahoma.
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker issued the following statement:
“Ironically, the Cherokee Nation is commemorating the 175th anniversary of the start of our Trail of Tears this year. About 16,000 Cherokees began the trek to Oklahoma from our homelands in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Kentucky, but only 12,000 lived through the harsh conditions that winter,” the statement says.
“The Trail of Tears was arguably the most horrific period in the Cherokee Nation’s history and among the worst atrocities ever sanctioned by the United States government. The legacy of that terrible era has had a profound effect on generations of tribal citizens, and still lingers today. This unfortunate display shows how much improvement is still needed in the understanding of Native peoples, our triumphs and our challenges, both historical and modern. We hope this becomes an opportunity for administrators at McAdory High School, and at schools all across the United States, to teach our young people not only the terrible history behind the Indian removal era, but also the resilience of tribes across the nation.”
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.