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Vicki Rozema’s “Voice from The Trail of Tears” Analysis

Updated April 22, 2022
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Vicki Rozema’s “Voice from The Trail of Tears” Analysis essay

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Vicki Rozema’s novel, “Voice from The Trail of Tears” contains many excerpts from different points of view of the removal of the Cherokee people. The white men either had sympathy for the Native Americans or believed that their treatment was justified. Many thought that tearing Native Americans away from their families and stealing their land was unwarranted; however, many also thought it was completely lawful and that the land belonged to the government. Contrary to these points of views, excerpts from the Native Americans show the truth of their victimization. Comparing and contrasting three different sides will allow the reader to fully understand the effects of The Trail of Tears. Reverend Daniel Sabine Butricks is an example of a white American who feels sympathy for Native Americans. In Excerpt 1, he discusses the cruel treatment put upon the Native Americans, saying “Driving them under such circumstances, and then forcing them into filthy boats, to overflow in this hot season, landing them at Little Rock, a most sickly place, to wait other means of conveyance 200 miles up the Arkansas River, is only a most expensive and painful way of putting the poor people to death” (Rozema 141).

In this excerpt, Reverend Butrick reflects on the treatment of the Native Americans he is observing. The Cherokees were treated like “swine” by stuffing men, women, and children in a spaceless boat and making them Pugliese 2sleep on the bare ground. The boat was nearly sinking due to the overcapacity. Not meaning to appeal to an audience, the Reverend writes in his journal. When the Reverend describes the Native Americans’ situation, he does not withhold any detail of the gruesome nature of their treatment. The Reverend’s experiences with the Cherokee caused him to sympathize with them due to their inhumane treatment.Unlike Reverend Butricks, Lieutenant C. H. Larned believed that the removal of the Cherokee people was lawful. When the Lieutenant states, “Smith under the guidance of W. Thomas came upon the camp of which he went in search and without difficulty or resistance captured twelve Indians” (Rozema 160). Opposite to the Reverend, the Lieutenant spoke of situations more like a job than dealing with human beings. This excerpt of a report from First Lieutenant C. H. Larned to General Winfield Scott describes gruesome treatment upon the Cherokee people. The Lieutenant describes the situation in which a prisoner stepped in front of him the wrong way and was killed instantly by an ax entering his head. He describes this brutal killing as if it was a daily occurrence. With no sympathy, the Lieutenant filled out his daily report to give to his General. Similar to Lieutenant C. H. Larned’s tone, a letter from John Page to T. Hartley Crawford as well reports about the lawful removal of the Cherokee people. On the December 4th, 1838 Calhoun, Ten writes, “I have the honor to report the arrival of the troops from the mountains, they having captured the five murderers, four of which were executed, and the fifth was pardoned” (Rozema 162). John Pages writes this letter to inform T. Hartley Crawford of the savage murders committed by the Native Americans. The purpose of this letter is to convey that Pugliese 3the removal of the Cherokees is lawful and constituted, making it a safer place. He groups all Native Americans into the same category as this murderer assuming that they are all bad.

After the killing of these four murderers, their families were taken into custody and treated as prisoners as well. John Page, like many white men, shared this belief while the Cherokee people lived a much different reality.The excerpt from the Cherokee Phoenix and Indian’ Advocate woman killer and eighty-year-old Cherokee man discusses his agreement with the logistics of the bill. His informant is shown when he states, “We hold them by the golden chain of friendship, made when our friendship was worth a price, and if they act the tyrant and kill us for our lands, we shall, in a state of unoffending innocence, sleep with the thousands of our departed people… but before I sit, allow me to tell you that I am in favor of the bill” (Rozema 45). Women Killer is in favor of the logistics of the bill because it will benefit both the Cherokee and the white man. However, he is fully aware that the government of the white man will deceive him and take advantage of him and his people, but he will not respond in violence. They will take a peaceful stand and fall with those that they have lost. Respected by many, Women Killer states his opinion on the bill showing that the Cherokee people are peaceful and do not deserve to have their land stripped from them for no reason.  In the newspaper, Cherokee Phoenix and Indian’ Advocate Elias Boudinot delves into the lives of the Cherokee describing the multitude of problems they ran into with the white man. “A company of Cherokees, among whom were some of our most respectable citizens,… were out two days in which time they found 17 families of intruders, living, we believe, in Cherokee Pugliese 4houses” (Rozema 48). When the intruders were found, the Cherokee people asked them to leave and when safely exiting with their belongings, the house was set on fire so they can no longer return. The Cherokee were treated as if they were not people by the occasional enterings of intruders trying to live in their house. This adds on to the long list of problems the Native American people had to deal with. This is a key sign in showing how the Native Americans were treated less and less as citizens and people. Without the arrival of white men, the Cherokee never had to worry about the loss of their property, let alone intruders entering their house.

Similar to Elias Boudinot writings of unlawful treatment, a letter written by Cherokee leader William Shorey Coodey to John Howard Payne discusses the disrespect that the white man has impressed on him and his people. Coody expresses his hate for the white man when he says, “I almost fancied a voice of divine indignation for the wrongs of my poor and unhappy countrymen, driven by brutal power from all they loved and cherished in the land of their fathers, to gratify the cravings of avarice” (Rozema 134). Coody strongly implies the mistreatment did unto him and his people by referring to the actions of the white men as indignation, implying that their actions stripped them of their birth-right, dignity. He claims that their so-called “lawful” actions are nothing more than examples of the white man’s insatiable greed. What the Cherokee people see as their beloved home, the white man sees only an opportunity to make a profit. Coody is one of many Cherokee that opposes the white man’s agenda. After reading these six documents, the picture of Cherokee suffering goes through my head. The treatment the Native Americans went through was unlawful and unjust. The dignity       Pugliese 5was taken out of the Cherokee and they were left disrespected. Elias Boudinot discusses one of the many problems the Cherokee people encountered starting with the intrusion into their lands and homes. The intruder’s punishment was simply to leave, take their belongings and the house was burned down. The Cherokee were dealt with as though they were not individuals by the periodic enterings of intruders entering their homes.

Compared to Reverend Daniel Sabine Butricks, the white man treated the Native Americans like “swine”, by forcefully kicking them out of their land and stuffing them in boats that were on the verge of sinking. These unlawful events were triggered by greed, taking everything the Cherokee man has worked for and earned from their generations.   Within Vicki Rozema’s Voices from The Trail of Tears were several excerpts and letters either agreeing on the removal of the Cherokee or discussed the unlawful view of the white man’s agenda. The Cherokee people were forcibly taken out of their homes and subjected to leave while the white man took what they had. Many saw this as lawful while many also saw this as cruel and heartless. With the company of the two side, the reader is able to delve into The Trail of Tears, understanding and seeing both sides of the story. This novel reveals how the Cherokee people were treated less like human beings and more like a profit. The significance of Rozema’s novel reveals the sorrow and pain the Cherokee people went through, making this an event no one will ever forget. The significance of Rozema’s novel reveals the sorrow and pain the Cherokee people went through, making this an event no one will ever forget.

Vicki Rozema’s “Voice from The Trail of Tears” Analysis essay

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Vicki Rozema’s “Voice from The Trail of Tears” Analysis. (2022, Apr 22). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/vicki-rozemas-voice-from-the-trail-of-tears-analysis/

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