I was born on the Indian Reservation in North Carolina in 1967 to the Cherokee Tribe of Native American Indians. My parents were both full-blooded Cherokee and I was being raised to speak both my native tongue of Cherokee and English. Tsalagi (Tsa-la-gi) is an Iroquoian language and is spoken by 22,000 Cherokee people. The Tsalagi language in North America is at a great risk of becoming extinct. There are some government policies that were placed in the 1950’s that enforce the removal of Cherokee children from Tsalagi-speaking homes, which reduced the number of bilingual Cherokee children from 75% to less than 5% today. (2006)
There is a story that has been told through the years of the migration from my great-great grandfather’s home to the reservation. The president at the time had declared Justice Marshal and now let him enforce it. The arm was then sent it to enforce the new law. Many crimes were committed and many were killed in cold blood. They were driven from their homes because the government thought there was gold on the Indians land. Many of the men were taken from the fields and women were taken from their homes, my great- great grandfather was forced to watch the execution of his relatives and was arrested the following day and was taken west, he and others did not even have a chance to grab any of their belongings before being forced from their homes. (Burnett, Dec. 1890)
There was this widowed mother and her three children in one home that were forced to move to the west. She had the infant strapped to her back and her hands out for her other two children when her heart stopped and she passed on to the Spirit world leaving her children to fend for themselves.
During their travel west they encounters freezing temperatures which began in the beginning of November of 1838 and ended in March of 1839 which signified the end of their journey. They were made to sleep on the ground without a fire or even blankets to help keep them warm. Many of my...
References: Native languages of the Americas: Cherokee (Tsalagi). Retrieved May 8th 2008 from http://www.native-languages.org/cherokee.htm [Web site]
Redish, L., and Lewis, O. (2005). Native Languages of the Americas. Retrieved May 8th 2008, from http://www.geocities.com?bigorrin/cherokee_kids.htm [Web site]
Burnett, J. G., (Dec. 11, 1890). Story of the removal of the Cherokees. Retrieved May 8th 2008 from http://www.powersource.com/cherokee/burnett.html [Web site]
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