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The Cherokee Rose
Bear Medicinewalker, LoreKeeper
More than 100 years ago, the Cherokee
people were driven from their home mountains when the white
men discovered gold in the mountains of Tears. Some of the people
came across Marengo County in West Alabama. It seems that after
they had left the mountains, they came this far south so not
have to climb more mountains.
It was early summer and very hot,
and most of the time the people had to walk. Tempers were short
and many times the soldiers were more like animal drivers than
guides for the people. The men were so frustrated with the treatment
of their women and children, and the soldiers were so harsh
and frustrated that bad things often happened. When two men
get angry they fight and once in a while men were killed on
the trip. Many people died of much hardship. Much of the time
the trip was hard and sad and the women wept for losing their
homes and their dignity. The old men knew that they must do
something to help the women not to lose their strength in weeping.
They knew the women would have to be very strong if they were
to help the children survive.
So one night after they had made
camp along the Trail of Tears, the old men sitting around the
dying campfire called up to the Great One in Galunati (heaven)
to help the people in their trouble. They told Him that the
people were suffering and feared that the little ones would
not survive to rebuild the Cherokee Nation.
The Great One said, "Yes, I
have seen the sorrows of the women and I can help them to keep
their strength to help the children. Tell the women in the morning
to look back where their tears have fallen to the ground. I
will cause to grow quickly a plant. They will see a little green
plant at first with a stem growing up. It will grow up and up
and fall back down to touch the ground where another stem will
begin to grow. I'll make the plant grow so fast at first that
by afternoon they'll see a white rose, a beautiful blossom with
five petals. In the center of the rose, I will put a pile of
gold to remind them of the gold which the white man wanted when
his greed drove the Cherokee from their ancestral home."
The Great One said that the green
leaves will have seven leaflets, one for each of the seven clans
of the Cherokee. The plant will begin to spread out all over,
a very strong plant, a plant which will grow in large, strong
clumps and it will take back some of the land they had lost.
It will have stickers on every stem to protect it from anything
that tries to move it away.
The next morning the old men told
the women to look back for the sign from the Great One. The
women saw the plant beginning as a tiny shoot and growing up
and up until it spread out over the land. They watched as a
blossom formed, so beautiful they forgot to weep and they felt
beautiful and strong. By the afternoon they saw many white blossoms
as far as they could see. The women began to think about their
strength given them to bring up their children as the new Cherokee
Nation. They knew the plant marked the path of the brutal Trail
of Tears. The Cherokee women saw that the Cherokee Rose was
strong enough to take back much of the land of their people.
Copyright: Cinnamon Moon & River WildFire Moon (Founders.)
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