Today is March 27th 2015 and on this same day in 1814 General Andrew Jackson defeated the Red Sticks. This morning I am wondering about victory. Who does the honor go to when victory is the expense of life forever altered?
I can read by history that our great general defeated the Red Sticks, but what does that mean to me now and what did it mean for them? Who were the Red Sticks and why did they care to fight at all? Did our government give them a reason to need to fight? Would that same fight ever be necessary again?
I try to imagine myself in a land that was not my time. In the year 1814 our great nation was already established as an independent sovereignty, free from Great Britain. The American revolution granted legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies in July of 1776. We were a free America with a country that was ours to explore and cultivate.
Or was that true? We were still in the midst of the war of 1812 and when we weren’t fighting the English we were at odds with those native to American soil. The Red Sticks were a group of Creek Indians, young men who wanted to revive traditional religious and cultural practices. They took up arms against the settlers because our people were further encroaching on their territory and way of life.
General Andrew Jackson is a marked American hero, notably. His job was to “clear” the Mississippi Territory for American settlement. His purpose was not to clear the land of trees. It was to clear the land of opposing groups of people. The Red Sticks were a group that needed to be eradicated in order for “progress.”
PROGRESS. PROGRESS TODAY.
Our American future is smart phone technology and Facebook. Can you imagine General Andrew Jackson trying to convey that importance to tribes full of natives in 1814?
“I am terribly sorry, but we insist that you move the hell out of our way and yes, please do let go of your primitive culture. We are the way of the future. Facebook is coming and any day we will have an app for relocation.”