There’s an interesting story making the news rounds about a high-school football team that used what is called a break-through banner which taunted their foes using the term Trail of Tears.
The Trail of Tears refers to the events surrounding the 1830 Indian Removal Act in which many Native Americans were forcefully removed from their homes in violation of previous treatise. This law was passed by both the Senate and the House although not with enough votes to override a veto in the House of Representatives. It fell to President Andrew Jackson to sign the law or veto it.
The history books I’ve read on the subject suggest that he was conflicted. The debate on this issue was passionate. In the end, from what I’ve read, Jackson felt that settlers were going to move into the region and getting civil authorities to prosecute these settlers was going to be difficult if impossible. That these settlers and Native Americans would eventually get into conflicts. That the opening of the land and the relocation of the Native Americans was inevitable. In the end he signed the legislation and the supposed voluntary removal led to both Trail of Tears and Second Seminole War.
These two events are stains upon the honor of the United States and it can be argued that the removal act as a whole was a decision that shows the United States in a poor light.
My blog today isn’t about this history, it is not even about the banner, it is about the result of the banner. There are those calling for the resignation of school administrators that allowed the banner to appear. The principal of the school, Tod Humphries, took responsibility for the banner, apologized for the banner, and promised that the entire school would be educated about the Indian Removal Act of 1930.
So, we have two options here. We can vilify Humphries as the person ultimately responsible for the banner or we can both accept his apology and use the moment to educate people about the Trail of Tears and our history.
You can probably guess my position. It appears to me the apology is sincere and I’m willing to take the principal’s word that they will educate students at the school about the Act and its terrible results. I think that Native American leaders should embrace the proposal. They should publicly and vocally accept his apology. Offer to visit the school and speak on the subject. Use the moment as an impetus for good. Shake his hand and vow to make the world a better place.
Can you imagine a world where we embrace those who make mistakes? A world where we move not to blame but to make right? A world where we work with one another even when we disagree?
What do you think should be the result of the banner?
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
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Next Release: The Broken Throne