The Certainties of Life…
Life is an uncertain race where most people do no more than run in place,
there can be happiness, sadness, and around every corner a surprise; yet
hope blooms. Life is what one must create within their allotted space, or
sit on the sidelines and wait leaving their journey to fate.
Life is not all joy floating upon the winds of time; there are rights and wrongs;
and unknown quandaries, setbacks, and living means moving forward. Life
quickly passes, fair and cloudy days, laughter and tears, and then the warmth
of the sun subsides ones fears.
Life may mean walking in the valleys of despair until fate starts an upward
climb, living with happiness, or grief; always trust the heart and mind. Life
lived in harmony with others, loving, caring and expectations met; seeds of
livelihood sown, repentance locked away for God to judge; we strive and labor
as time passes on.
Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree’s
Freedom’s Family – 10X12 Watercolor
So, from the book Bird by Bird and in the words of Anne Lamott, I have completed the “Shitty First Draft” of The Chickasaw (Working Title). My knowledge of the history of my family spans five generations. Fosee “Hawk” Overton, born into the Western Alabama Chickasaw Tribe in 1821 and his wife Sipsee Cotton Wood Tree of the same tribe; Sipsee was born the same year as Hawk. These are my great-great grandmother and great-great-grandfather; they were both on the Trail of Tears. My great-grandmother Sipsee and Hawk’ daughter and only child told their story many times before she passed away, and the only thing she ask of me was too simply “Always Remember.”
The Chickasaw has been ten-years in the making, research, notes, hours of pulling everything together, outlines, storyboards, mega index cards later; I have my very own “Shitty First Drift”. The margins are filled with possible changes and words wearing a yellow coat of highlights’. This is where I call cutting out the garbage phase and moving on to something that may actually make sense. Enjoy your weekend everyone, I will be cutting out garbage!
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There is a gateway leading to a city of doom, through it is another sphere of everlasting pain, emotionally and bodily. Those at the entrance walks freely knowing there is tragedy beyond the gate. There is fear, secret things, distrust and lies.
The darkness is the most evil, a blood red moon framed by the many stars hanging in the blackness. Cries claims the night, souls in the depths of hell are lost forever in the darkness beyond the tomb.
Is there hope in death, will memories go beyond the stars, will those souls left behind be remembered. Souls shedding their tears of blood; give credibility to the wailing of fate. Time is lost on those who question the love of God as the ground can be felt sinking senselessly before moving toward that dreadful shore. Are you afraid?
This country is hopelessly in a black hole of decay, the politician’s journey with a thief, filling his belly with the souls of good men and women. My heart feels that it is not safe with these slums of the earth, today’s politicians. The rusted soul of a politician makes my blood boil. Warring for decency has filled my heart with ammunition, prayer.
When you were sitting at your Thanksgiving table, did you begin your “feast” with a prayer to “GOD”, the “GREAT CREATOR” or whomever you believe to be your deity? I relate Thanksgiving to Slavery and Bloodbaths by those people who came to the Americas without being invited. It was the home of many tribes of Native Americans.
Most of us associate the holiday with happy Pilgrims and Indians sitting down to a big feast, once. I believe that the entire human race and its progress were based on slavery. In 1614, a band of English explorers sailed from the Americas home to England with a ship full of Pawtuxet Indians bound for slavery. These Pilgrims left behind smallpox by the time that the Pilgrims arrived back in Massachusetts Bay they found only one living Pawtuxet Indian, a man named Squanto who had survived slavery in England and knew their language. He taught them to grow corn and to fish, and negotiated a peace treaty between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Nation. At the end of their first year, the Pilgrims held a great feast honoring Squanto and the Wampanoag’s. A peaceful Thanksgiving?
As word spread in England about the paradise to be found in the new world, religious zealots called Puritans began arriving by the boatload. Finding no fences around the land, they considered it to be in the public domain. Joined by other British settlers, they seized land, capturing strong young Natives for slaves and killing the rest. The Pequot Nation had not agreed to the peace treaty Squanto had negotiated and they fought back. The Pequot War was one of the bloodiest Indian wars ever fought. With white Puritans illegally taking land from the Indians and placing the strongest into slavery.
In 1637 near present day Groton, Connecticut, over 700 men, women and children of the Pequot Tribe had gathered for their annual Green Corn Festival, which is an America’s Thanksgiving celebration. In the predawn hours, English and Dutch mercenaries who ordered them to come outside surrounded the sleeping Indians. Those who came out were shot or clubbed to death while the terrified women and children who huddled inside the longhouse were burned alive. The next day the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared “A Day of Thanksgiving” because 700 unarmed men, women and children had been murdered.
Cheered by their “victory”, the colonists and their Indian allies attacked village after village. Women and children over 14 were sold into slavery while the rest were murdered. Boats loaded with as many as 500 slaves regularly left the ports of New England. Bounties were paid for Indian scalps to encourage as many deaths as possible.
Following an especially successful raid against the Pequot in what is now Stamford, Connecticut, the churches announced a second day of “thanksgiving” to celebrate victory over the heathen savages. During the feasting, the hacked off heads of Natives were kicked through the streets like soccer balls. Even the friendly Wampanoag did not escape the madness. Their chief was beheaded, and his head impaled on a pole in Plymouth, Massachusetts — where it remained on display for 24 years.
The killings became more and more turbulent, with days of thanksgiving feasts being held after each successful massacre. George Washington the first founding father finally suggested that only one day of Thanksgiving per year be set aside instead of celebrating each and every massacre. Later Abraham Lincoln decreed Thanksgiving Day to be a legal national holiday during the Civil War — on the same day he ordered troops to march against the starving Sioux in Minnesota.
This story doesn’t have quite the same warm feelings associated with it as the one where the Indians and Pilgrims are all sitting down together at the big feast. Nevertheless, we need to learn our true history so it will not ever be repeated. Next Thanksgiving, when you gather with your loved ones to Thank God for all your blessings, think about those people who only wanted to live their lives and raise their families, they also took time out to say “thank you” to Creator for all their blessings. How they died defending the soil they lived on…isn’t that what America does today, defend the soil of this country? Does each and every American want to live on their land, pray for peace without the possibility of being slaughtered, well, that is all the Indians wanted. Each and every American gain was paid for by the blood of whom you now call Native Americans or Blacks in Slavery.
Is Thanksgiving really the word we want to use? Is it possible that we are no different from any other country? We have been squatters, takers and killers on this land called America for years. If you want to “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN”, “GIVE IT BACK”.
I am Woman…
So, I am Woman, the wind whips through down the ridges of my throat, graveling pain spills out of my voice, I listen to the wind, it turns toward the sea, I said again, I am Woman.
I hear no echoes from the waves, the words are swallowed up in the voice of the surf as it swells and leaps over the bleached sands. I call to it, I am Woman.
Like sea mist across the dunes, I sway and beg the wind to take me away; words fall silent upon the shore, as I went out in the night to return no more, my choice, I am Woman.