Which is the Banner of Evil?

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One
of the hottest “got’cha” issues for the Democrats this election
year has been the chastising of any politician who refused to take
the stand demanding the removal of the Confederate battle flag from
any position of display on public property. The most notable example
has been the battle over the place of the flag at state capital
building in Columbia, South Carolina.

This
issue falls under the category of “no brainer” for the Democrats
because it plays well to their major constituencies, particularly
black Americans, and carries little risk of alienating any of their
core supporters or special interest groups. It also nicely casts
any opponents of flag removal as racist, since, as all good sociocrats
know, the Confederate flag is the banner under which the most horrible
of atrocities was committed by Americans.

Or
is it?

In
1830, the government of the United States, under President Andrew
Jackson, passed the Indian Removal Act to force all remaining Indian
tribes east of the Mississippi River to move west to the Indian
Territories, or what is now known as Oklahoma. Coincidentally, in
1830, gold was discovered on Cherokee lands, and lotteries were
begun to auction off the mining rights to whites. Cherokee were,
by law, not allowed to mine for gold.

In
December 1835, a small group of Cherokee led by John Ridge, signed
the Treaty of New Echota, ceding all Cherokee land east of the Mississippi
for $5 million and a promise of land in the Indian Territories.
Only 300 – 500 Cherokee were present at the treaty signing, of which
only 20 signed the document, none of whom were elected officials
of the Cherokee Nation. Though more than 15,000 Cherokee opposed
it, the treaty was ratified in 1836 by the U.S. Senate.

In
1838, federal troops and militia began rounding up the Cherokee
for forced removal into concentration camps. Families were separated,
and looters burned and occupied homesteads as the Cherokee were
interned. Due to the worst drought in years, conditions for travel
were terrible. Chief John Ross asked that the removal be delayed
until the fall. His request was ultimately granted, provided the
Cherokee remain in the internment camps until their departure. Many
of the Cherokee were poorly clothed, having been forced at gunpoint
from their homes, and refused offers of clothing from the government
because they perceived it as an acknowledgment of the validity of
their removal.

By
November 1838 over 15,000 Cherokee began the 800 – mile forced march
to the Indian Territories. Many died along the way of exposure or
disease, such as cholera, smallpox and dysentery, most protected
from the elements only by the single blanket they had been issued
by the government. To make matters worse, torrential rain, and then
a frozen Mississippi created tremendous hardship for the travelers.
By March of 1839, most of the survivors had arrived in the Indian
Territories. Of the original parties, it is estimated that as many
as 4,000 did not survive the journey, many of them children and
the elderly.

On
December 29, 1890 Sioux Chief Big Foot and 350 of his followers
were camped on the banks of Wounded Knee Creek, surrounded by Union
troops who were there for the explicit purpose of arresting Big
Foot and disarming his warriors. Chief Sitting Bull had been killed
just 14 days earlier in an attempt to arrest him, a fact of which
Big Foot was aware.

The
cause of this unrest was the growing movement among the Sioux led
by a Paiute shaman called Wavoka. He prophesied a great resurgence
among the Indians, with a new soil covering the land and burying
the white man. The Ghost Dance was practiced as a way to bring about
this event. The dance spread throughout the Dakota reservations,
causing such alarm among whites that an Indian Agent with the U.S.
government called in soldiers for the protection of the settlers.

During
the attempt to arrest Big Foot, shots rang out. The troops opened
fire on the Indians with Hotchkiss guns and drove them into the
nearby ravine where they were slaughtered. When the fighting finally
stopped, over 300 Sioux and 25 Union soldiers were dead, including
Chief Big Foot.

In
his excellent article “The
Feds versus the Indians
,” Thomas J. DiLorenzo quotes General
William Tecumseh Sherman, the nefarious pillager of the South, who
shared his “enlightened” view on what he referred to as “the final
solution to the Indian problem”:

“We
are not going to let a few thieving, ragged Indians check and
stop the progress of
the railroads…. I regard the railroad as the most important
element now in progress to
facilitate the military interests of our Frontier.”

“We
must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux,” Sherman
wrote to Ulysses
S. Grant (commanding general of the federal army) in 1866, “even
to their extermination,
men, women and children.” The Sioux must “feel the superior power
of the
Government.” Sherman vowed to remain in the West” till the Indians
are all killed or taken
to a country where they can be watched.”

“During
an assault,” he instructed his troops, “the soldiers cannot pause
to distinguish between
male and female, or even discriminate as to age.”

DiLorenzo
also makes reference to the irony that former slaves were recruited,
the infamous “Buffalo Soldiers,” to participate in the genocide
of the Indian tribes.

These
are but a few of the better known examples of the atrocities that
have been committed against the Native American peoples of this
nation under the banner of the Stars and Stripes.

While
the institution of slavery is an abomination, one would be hard
pressed to find an equivalent action by the government of either
the United or Confederate States against freemen or black slaves.
Yet, it is demanded that we remove the Confederate battle flag from
public display because it hurts the feelings and sensibilities of
contemporary black Americans, and stands, in their minds, as a symbol
of oppression; a position that most liberal politicians are more
than happy to embrace.

So,
let’s have it, Mr. Gore:

On
the day that the members of A.I.M.
come knocking on your door and demand the removal of the American
flag from all public display because of the crimes and atrocities
committed against their ancestors, what will your response be?

On
the day that the Native Americans come calling with the grievance
that they are offended by the flag of terror, evil and oppression
flying over our state and federal buildings, will you still be so
smug in your conviction that removal of the offending banner is
the solution?

August
31, 2000

Jef
Allen is a technology professional in Georgia. As a reformed Yankee,
who has lived in the South for roughly twenty years, he has very
little tolerance for Northern sanctimony, or the erosion of individual
liberty.

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