May 23, 2017

Thoughts on suddenly becoming part Cherokee

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 1:06 pm

So here’s the story: I went to Tahlequah in Oklahoma, drove up to the Cherokee Heritage Center, plunked down my thirty dollars and had my genealogy done. Bingo!

“You are 1/32 Cherokee on your father’s side and your great great grandfather was George Ballard, and he and his father James Ballard and his father’s father John Yates Ballard all walked the Trail of Tears.”

Tears also came to my eyes upon hearing this. All those old family legends are true. I really am part Cherokee! However, what exactly does all this new and specific information actually mean to me personally? How am I gonna integrate all this new information into the other parts of my actual life?

In Tahlequah, I talked with one Cherokee man who claimed that Cherokees are actually the Lost Tribe of Israel. Does this mean that I should move off to Tel Aviv in search of my roots? Perhaps open a nightclub there with a Cherokee theme?

I grew up in a typical American suburb and now live in Berkeley, an annex of Silicon Valley. How can I fit being a native American into that cultural heritage? And is being only 1/32 Cherokee enough to change the way that I live, how I think, who I actually am?

Where exactly do I fit into the American reality?

Most Americans go along with the idea that murdering babies in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Europe and Asia for fun and profit is a good thing, and that losing our freedom after 9-11 was the truly patriotic thing to do. I don’t buy that at all. It’s illegal, immoral and probably fattening too. And I can’t worship big banksters, Big Pharma or Big Brother either.

So. How do I fit into today’s American patchwork quilt? Or do I? How do Blacks, Latinos and Asians manage to do it? I should ask them for some tips.

And now that I’m a Cherokee too, what place-marker does that now hold in my life? What does it mean to be an American?

PS: Back in the day, white people were allowed by law to commit all sorts of heinous crimes in Cherokee territory and not get punished. That’s why so many famous American outlaws had their hide-outs and robbers’ roosts located there — including Jesse James, Belle Starr, the Dalton Gang and Bonnie and Clyde just to name a few. It was unfair and unjust to the Cherokee people — a nightmare come true.

And the same thing is happening now to Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Israeli neo-colonialist settlers, rustlers and claim-jumpers are allowed by law to commit all sorts of heinous crimes in Palestine and not get punished. What? Don’t Israeli neo-colonialists know that the Palestinians are the real Lost Tribe of Israel?


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