July 04, 2008

Cherokees take charge in 1812

Eric Flint’s 1812 is especially interesting to me because it addresses an issue I've covered before. Namely, Was Native Defeat Inevitable? In that posting I discuss three scenarios in which Indians could've retained some autonomy.

1812 suggests a fourth way. It foreshadows the creation of an independent Cherokee-based nation. It leaves the actual development of this nation to a sequel, but it's pretty clear what will happen.

Here's Patrick Driscol, Sam Houston's military adviser, explaining the situation to the Cherokees' John Ross:Stay where you are, and you’ll be crushed out of existence. There’s no way around it. But move--move yourselves, like men, rather than being driven like beasts--and you stand a chance of forging something powerful out there. Something which can shape its own destiny.”

“And who knows?” Patrick added. “You may end up shaping your enemy, too. Create a nation powerful enough, in a place you can do so, and over time you’ll begin changing the nature of your neighbors.”
And here's Ross mulling the plan later:The Cherokees would give up their beloved land, true. But they’d moved to a new land as a nation, not the broken pieces of one. They’d move with a leadership that was united, not tearing at itself savagely and bitterly. They’d move with the resources and the material goods they needed--John Ross would squeeze the Americans for years before they left; every drop of blood he could get, out of that damn stone--to forge a new place for themselves quickly, not bleeding and battered and stripped to the skin. Give them a few decades to build from that start--John was sure they’d have that much time, even with American land hunger--and who is to say what they might not accomplish? And what pressures of the future they could then withstand?Comment:  Are there any flaws in this plan? Well, it might've been impossible to sell the Cherokees on the idea of leaving their homeland. And the whites, blacks, and Indians of the new nation might not have been as tolerant as they are in 1812. But there are no insurmountable obstacles. If a wound hadn't put Houston out of commission, it could have happened this way.

Below:  Young John Ross.


Anonymous said...

I don't know - it seems like it would've been pretty hard to sell John Ross on this idea, let alone the rest of the Cherokee Nation. Still - it's an interesting idea.

Have you read Daniel Heath Justice's "Kynship" series? It's a fantasy trilogy that re-imagines Cherokee history and the Trail of Tears. Interesting stuff.

Rob said...

I've heard about Kynship, but I haven't read it. I'm not that crazy about fantasies. But maybe I'll give it a try.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Hey, look at that picture of young John Ross again! THAT'S WHY they hired Johnny Cash to play Ross for the PBS movie! And also why they hired perpetual movie bad guy Jack Palance to play Pres. Andrew Jackson!
All Best
Russ Bates