You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘murder’ tag.

Years of walking asphalt roads, cement sidewalks, wild flower meadows, and wooded trails in and around St. Louis, Missouri, often raised the question: Who had walked here before our country’s beginnings? Native Americans, of course, but did I know which tribes, their spirituality and traditions, and what had happened to them? Only one street sign, Osage, attests to their presence; the second, named after the Cherokee tribe, did not live in this area. So I began to poke around …

In 1804 Louis J. Bompart bought 1,600 acres of land, followed by two other later purchases by the Marshall and Gay families, in what now constitutes the county in which I live. Nowhere could I find out who the sellers were.

More research led to the semi-nomadic Osage tribe who had dominated present-day Missouri and the adjoining states. These people, like their counterparts suffered egregiously under the sixteenth-century French and Spanish land-grabbers, the profits to line their own coffers and sustain their wars of conquest overseas. So called contracts awarded to the tribes for such exchanges were as solid as the wind, and just as deadly as the killer diseases they left behind.

In 1830, President Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act. Outraged, the Cherokee brought this injustice for review to the Supreme Court, and Chief Justice John Marshall supported it. Yet, twenty thousand Osage in Missouri, and thousands elsewhere, were forcibly removed from their land, at gunpoint, to walk the Trail of Tears to earth-starved reservations in Oklahoma and Nebraska and Kansas.

So who sold the land to Louis J. Bompart that I’ve been living on for decades: Government agents? Immigrants from oppressed countries seeking freedom in the New World? Records go back only so far …

Across the wide swath of flaming maples, I glimpsed bloodied feet of the Choctaw, Muscogee, Chickasaw, Cherokees, and Seminole, five civilized tribes in the southeast, forced by our government to walk the Trail of Tears, between 1830 and 1850—their destination, the barren reservations in Oklahoma.

At the time, protesters lobbied, published, shouted out, lectured from pulpits and courtrooms, but the planters won. Cotton remained King, gobbling up nutrients from stolen lands, viewed as sacred by the tribes who had tended them. Such is our scarred history that greedily wants what it wants, but we are not alone.

The precedent of ethno-cleansing has fueled unspeakable atrocities throughout the world. With others, I cry, “Mercy!”

Available on Amazon

%d bloggers like this: