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Tennessee State Trail of Tears Resolution 2014 - Resolving to Reconcile

Updated: Jul 2, 2020

'Leaving the Smokies" by Donald Vann

It was a historic day and an honor to be a part of this time of reconciliation and healing that many generations have been praying for to take place in America. Many First Nations representatives from various tribes in the southeast came together to support this resolution and its key in bringing healing to the nations and the State of Tennessee.

As a result of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, all Native Americans refusing to blend in with the ever-expanding new nation were put on a several hundred miles forced march during the winter, now called the Trail of Tears. Thousands died along its path which included Cherokee, Muskogee Creek, Chickasaw, and Choctaws who lost many of their people on the forced marches to Oklahoma. For decades people have been praying for restoration, healing, and ultimately reconciliation. These prayers were answered when Tennessee became the first state to acknowledge the removal of the tribes from their ancestral homeland in a groundbreaking, 100% bi-partisan decision.

"It was a land grab. The United States government wanted the peoples' land and they took it. And so the lesson for us today is when government comes to you and they take something from somebody and they give it to someone else, that is wrong," said State Rep. Glen Casada (R).

“The state of Tennessee wishes to both acknowledge this tragedy and renounce any role it may have played in what is a stain on our collective histories,” the resolution states.

Daphne Swilling, who is a board member of FireKeepers International, was the spearhead who initiated the vision that The Creator had given to her about this legislative act of reconciliation. Eight years of prayer and intercession bore the fruit of a unanimous decision to pass this resolution. Representatives from many First Nations tribes came to the official reading of the resolution at the Capitol Building in Nashville, TN. The measure sponsored by House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada of Franklin was approved 90-0!

The resolution is not worded as an apology because sponsor Glen Casada, R-Franklin, said the state can’t apologize for the actions of others. The resolution states it acknowledges, renounces, and offers “sincere regret,” for the state's role in the Trail of Tears.

Dr. RiverWind speaks about forgiveness and healing

Dr. Laralyn RiverWind (Ambassador of the Georgia Tribe of Eastern Cherokee) and Chief Joseph RiverWind (Ambassadors of Descendants of Puerto Rico's First Nations) were honored to be asked to speak and sing "The Trail Where They Cried" from our first cd Journey's Through the Mist - The Blessed Blend. A song about the Trail of Tears and healing from the past. This healing comes as a result of reconciliation through the ultimate act of love by Chief CornerStone Yeshua. Healing the land and breaking the curses spoken over it results in healing the hearts and broken spirits of the people of that land. Many prayers to The Creator have been answered through the collective efforts of many people coming together to make this happen.

Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor Jack Baker said:
“An opponent of the act was Congressman David Crockett from Tennessee, for which he was vilified by the people of Tennessee. By opposing the act, he lost his bid for re-election and subsequently moved to Texas and lost his life at the Alamo.
Davy Crocket never lived long enough to see the results of the act where we, the Cherokees, and the other four tribes lost our lands and many lives on the Trail of Tears.” Baker said the resolution vindicated Crockett for voting against the Indian Removal Act.

Cherokee Nations Secretary of State John Hoskin Jr
“We thank the Tennessee General Assembly and Governor’s office for recognizing this tragic event in our nation’s history, and for making the overtures to the Cherokee Nation to begin a conversation about healing the wounds from 175 years ago,” said Hoskin Jr. “Today, we are one of the strongest tribal governments in the United States with successful businesses and a thriving, living culture. Our history as a people will always be connected to the Trail of Tears and the historic injustices done to Natives through the Removal Act. However, our innate resilience and capacity to not only survive, but thrive is what means the most to us.” - Cherokee Nations Secretary of State John Hoskin Jr

Cherokee Nation-Clifton Petit Prays Over The Land

After the resolution was read Cherokee Nation citizen Clifton Petit closed the government meeting by explaining how the Cherokee had cursed the land as they were being removed. With natural authority he began praying in Cherokee, retracting the curses his ancestors had spoken over the State of Tennessee. Outside it immediately began to rain and witnesses said the red clay dust on the Capitol building began to flow down the walls and it looked like blood being washed clean off the stones.

With a resounding round of cheers, lulu's, war cries, and tears of joy 175 years later the State of Tennessee publicly renounced its role in the Trail of Tears and expressed its regret for the removal of the tribal nations from the land. There was another interesting thing that took place. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, there had been a drought in the State of Tennessee for over a hundred years. Drought is a biblical curse for when a boundary stone is moved. The drought began the same year the native people were removed on the Trail of Tears. In 2014, right after this resolution was passed the drought ended!

The healing has begun but there is still more work to be done. The State of Georgia is following closely behind in considering passing a similar resolution. Keep the prayers going up, sign up for FireKeeper's newsletter, and watch for an update.


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