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Oh, Beautiful Cherokee People

“They took the whole Cherokee nation
Put us on this reservation
Took away our ways of life
The tomahawk and the bow and knife”

From “Indian Reservation” by Paul Revere and the Raiders


Oh, Beautiful Cherokee People

Oh, beautiful Cherokee people,
lovers of community, weavers of baskets, 
and eventual creators of an alphabet,
so peacefully you prospered in green and fertile
homelands of America’s southeastern regions.

Greedy men conspired to be rid of you.
Gluttons for the glitter of gold ore, 
they overturned the highest law in all the land
by an order of removal 
signed by the white man’s president.
Old Hickory, the blood of innocents is on your hands.
Monroe and other men of great influence,
your arrogance brought shame upon my country,
which supposedly was founded on a love for justice!
Your actions brought great sorrow 
to the whole of a democratic nation 
established by the peaceful Cherokees.

Turned out of their homes 
with only what they carried on their backs,
women, men and children walked a path
where thousands would succumb to hunger, sickness,
and exposure to the cold.
Unholy were their cries of grief
for those who perished on the Trail of Tears.
Herded onto boats like cattle, then forced 
to new locations in mainly Oklahoma,
how did this tribe, once so dignified, survive?

Oh, beautiful Cherokee people,
were you able to raise up again the “three sisters” -
the corn, beans and squash 
which historically sustained your seven clans?
Did the sacred cedar rise up for you again
in this strange new land assigned to you?
I know so little of your history,
but somehow you survived the transplantation,
and now your women and men of medicine
carry on the ancient rituals.

How many of you have remained upon the reservations?
You who once prayed daily 
to the seven directions of the seven clans,
giving gratitude while bathing in the sacred streams or rivers.
I envision you, oh, beautiful Cherokee people,
rising up again to claim
the green and fertile fields of your beloved heritage.


Closing lines from the Indian Nation song:

"Cherokee people Cherokee tribe
So proud to live So proud to die
But maybe someday when they learn
Cherokee nation will return, will return
Will return, will return, will return."

Copyright © Andrea Dietrich

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  1. Date: 9/4/2015 7:48:00 PM

    Always loved that song. Nice tribute. We like to go to the Smokies and there is a Cherokee community there. Pretty cool
  1. Date: 9/4/2015 6:38:00 PM

    I remember listening to that song growing up. An excellent tribute to the plight of the Cherokee.
  1. Date: 9/4/2015 2:56:00 PM

    You have done the Cherokee proud with your writing and the way you researched what you wrote about. We have chosen to forget what the white man has done to the Indian and not just to the Cherokee. We have committed many wrongs against a once proud and strong nation We should be ashamed. Well done my dear on an excellent write. Hugs Edith
  1. Date: 9/4/2015 1:45:00 PM

    Excellent write Andrea, we sense the scene the strength of Men, willing to protect no fops here..' the care of children only mothers can give, and the rapacious greed of 'civilised' men..? maybe fops..? probably arising from scented baths, cleaner than the natives.?? L O L))) and so it still is today..' as the oppressors invent first a superior moral fallacy..' a 7 plus. Best for the contest..'
  1. Date: 9/4/2015 10:47:00 AM

    The trail of tears was one of the more disgraceful acts in our nations history along with wounded knee..I posted a poem a short while ago called warrior's sorrow..check it out if you have the time.
  1. Date: 9/4/2015 8:59:00 AM

    I love the song you choose for this very powerful write Andrea..... best wishes
  1. Date: 9/4/2015 6:36:00 AM

    Been to Cherokee, NC on several occasions. Beautiful area at the base of the Smoky Mountains and where the Blue Ridge Parkway ends. Many Cherokee still live in the area and all along the southern Appalachians in North and South Carolina and Northern Georgia.
  1. Date: 9/4/2015 4:58:00 AM

    Beautiful tribute to the Cherokee people, their suffering has been forgotten by so many... A beautiful written poem..

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