• Follow us


Keeping a Fire - The Good Men Project

—I was born Cherokee and I knew it, but I had to discover I am Indian, descendant of those who survived waves of death that depopulated the western hemisphere.

Many if not most of the casualties perished without ever seeing a European. Hernando de Soto started out in Florida,1539, with 620 men. While only about half of the Spaniards survived the futile search for gold because of continuing military clashes, the diseases they brought killed natives in the tens of thousands, wiped out whole villages, and crippled several cultures. It is sometimes written that de Soto’s men were the first Europeans to encounter the Mississippian cultures that left extensive ruins in what became the southeastern U.S….and also the last.

De Soto criss-crossed lands that would still be populated by indigenous peoples — mostly different tribes than those who greeted de Soto — when Andrew Jackson was elected president of the United States after a major campaign promise to remove them. Most of the people thought to be in the way of civilization in the early 19th century were the so-called Five “Civilized” Tribes: Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole.

By application of a little military force and a lot of fraud, Jackson moved four and a half of the Five Tribes to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River. Some of the Seminoles agreed to join their linguistic relatives, the Creeks, but others disappeared into the swamps of Florida, where their resistance was rewarded with a Florida reservation. The Seminoles are famed for their resistance because they never made peace, but other tribal bands managed to stay home — which was OK with the U.S. as long as they gave up tribal relations. Some held out long enough or politicked well enough to get reservations in their homelands: The Eastern Band of Cherokees, the Mississippi Band of Choctaws, and the Poarch Band of Creeks.

My relatives removed to Indian Territory, and I grew up with tales of how the Five Tribes tried to maintain their reservations in spite of the people classified as “intruders,” white people who entered Indian Territory because they could, there being no Trumpian walls. Intruders who committed felonies in Indian Territory could be rounded up by tribal police, but they had to be deposited in Ft. Smith, Arkansas, to be tried in federal court.

It was the distance and the bureaucracy that made law enforcement difficult more than lenient courts. For 21 years, the U.S. District Judge in Ft. Smith was Issac Parker, colloquially known as “the hanging judge.” It’s not clear he deserved that, given his jurisdiction over white people arrested in Indian Territory, selected by tribal authorities to be bad enough to be worth the hassle of delivering them to Ft. Smith.

Parker handed down 160 death sentences and 79 were actually hanged. While he was reputed to be personally opposed to the death penalty, he did not do his reputation any good when he sentenced six men to be hanged on September 3, 1875. Four of them met their appointment with the noose; one got the death penalty commuted because of youth and one was shot dead attempting to escape.

My maternal grandparents were “intruders,” but neither fit the profile of troublemakers. My grandfather had mustered out of the army and needed work; my grandmother was brought to Indian Territory by her father and abandoned at the Sac and Fox Agency as a teenager. They explain the most recent of three generations of exogamy by Cherokee men that produced me. In the two prior generations, I only know a bit about the Cherokee men. Of the white women they married, I only have their names.

The existence of my Cherokee citizenship represents a cultural dilution from after the Cherokee Nation became a constitutional republic. Before then, I would get my clan identity and therefore my citizenship from my Cherokee mother or not at all.

I first learned I was an “Oklahoma Indian” when I was introduced as such by a Paiute speaking to another Paiute. He did not mean it as a pejorative but just a fact of my background. I learned later that it is sometimes meant as a pejorative, and as best I can tell that is a legacy of the colonists’ intent for Indian Territory to be an intertribal melting pot, a more or less benign Final Solution to the Indian problem.

When the U.S. was pursuing the One Big Reservation idea, it was still against the law for Indians and white people to marry in many states. Tribal laws did not usually reciprocate total bans, but they did sometimes treat marry-ins differently, as in the Cherokee law limiting white men to one wife, a rule that did not apply to Cherokee men.

This law was not about Cherokee racism but rather it addressed a serious problem of white men marrying in to take themselves out of the “intruder” category and then marrying a white woman. The Cherokee wife would then become the cleaning lady while the white wife took on the social role and the white children were preferred to the Indian children.

Some tribal laws — to our eternal shame — did ape the colonial ban on intermarriage with black people, a ban that was often disregarded. Each tribal government, like each state, had rules about who could marry whom.

These were times before antibiotics and the shooting part of the Indian wars was still on. The life expectancy at birth among the colonists did not leave 40 behind until the same year the Indian wars switched from stealing with guns to stealing with laws, 1890.

The norm was serial monogamy and blended families raising children — but not because of divorce like it is now. Spouses died in circumstances that would not cause death in our times.

Both of my non-Indian grandparents had vivid memories of Indian Territory they shared with me. The white folks who came to Indian Territory not on government business either did not mind mixing with Indians or were willing to tamp down racism because they were out for the main chance and believed the opportunity to swindle Indians outweighed any distaste for socializing with them.

The results were a lot of “only in Oklahoma.”

In the Osage Nation, there was a plague of white marry-ins murdering Osage women for their head rights, a per capita share of oil revenues.

The Tonkawas, promised a reservation in Texas for scouting services against the Comanches, were instead forced to Oklahoma Territory at gunpoint and settled too close to the Comanche Reservation. A raid in 1862 killed half the tribe and the survivors were relocated.

Comanches and Kiowas fought the settlers to a standstill on the Southern Plains while the Great Sioux Nation made common cause with the Cheyennes and Arapahos to accomplish the same on the Northern Plains. After the Civil War, the settlers quit fighting each other and concentrated on the Indian wars.

The warriors who had been lords of the plains were settled in Oklahoma Territory and ordered to become farmers overnight. The resulting failures shrank first their bellies and then their souls.

My raising among the Creeks did not give me any feel for the Muscogee language — I actually heard Cherokee more often — but I did acquire some historical heroes like Opothle Yahola (Laughing Fox) and Chitto Harjo (Crazy Snake) to stand beside the leader of the Cherokee resistance, Redbird Smith. I took the Red Stick Creeks to be a Creek analog to the Nighthawk Keetoowah Society, the most militant resistance.

Resistance was reputed to be futile, but it was not. Our governments were wiped out by federal law, but that was temporary. Our ceremonial lives were never interrupted in spite of the best efforts of the settlers.

The Cherokee purification ceremony translates “going to water.” That’s all a non-Cherokee needs to know, and the only reason a non-Cherokee needs to know that is because sometimes when there is a public hearing over polluting a river, you may hear unusually passionate pleas from uneducated Cherokees who appear out of place in a discussion of parts per million of substances for which there is no word in Cherokee.

Indians often struggle with separating the mundane from the sacred. It’s a separation that exists in no Indian culture I know, but those of which I know enough to opine number only about a dozen. I can only write as who I am, and I have trouble separating the mundane from the sacred.

An exhortation, Keep a fire!, sometimes ends speeches and writings or just personal correspondence, a reference to the Cherokee Sacred Fire, a symbol of our survival as a people, burning from time immemorial.

In 1838 the Fire lit the last council before the Removal in Red Clay, Tennessee. It was brought on the Trail Where They Cried to Indian Territory, a journey that is part of the blood memory of modern Cherokees. The Fire was not extinguished by the tears and the embers survived to light ceremonial fires in Indian Territory as it became Oklahoma in 1907.

The Sacred Fire was returned to the homelands in 1951, and embers from it were used to light the Council Fire when the elected leadership of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and the Eastern Band of Cherokees held a joint council on April 3, 1984 back in Red Clay, Tennessee.

The Cherokee Sacred Fire that had turned seven woods to ashes from time immemorial in the Smokey Mountains did the same in Oklahoma as a Cherokee man named Haney Walter Teehee crossed from the Cherokee Nation to the Muscogee Creek Nation to seek work in the oil fields.

The Fire burned on impassively as Haney Teehee searched on a cold and wet day and returned without a job but with a bad cold that did not go away. Haney, my grandfather, would die when my father was two and become my last ancestor for whom Cherokee was a first language.

To lay a ceremonial fire, the first logs are aligned to the cardinal directions. The fuel is built up from there and is, if at all possible, fed by seven particular woods and lit by coals from the Sacred Fire. In modern times, through triumphs and tragedies, the Cherokee people have kept a fire.

Cherokees and other Indians have bought a lot of nonsense from the settlers about the inferiority of all Indian cultures. At first, Indians paid for their shortcomings with land. They continue to pay when they accept the false but relentless claim that they are vestiges of a time long gone. The epic scam that built the U.S.A. continues, the scam that claims a nation was made wealthy by stolen African-American labor bringing crops from stolen Indian land but nobody who lives today profited from theft.

This post was previously published on www.medium.com and is republished here with permission from the author.—Photo credit: Shutterstock

Read More

Leave A Comment

More News


HyperJuice's 130W USB-C Battery might be the perfect New! 2019-05-20 16:14:09You will never ever have to hunt for a power socket if you're equipped with one of HyperJuice's new 130W batteries. With 27000mAh of battery ca

Nike's auto-lacing Adapt BB gets a familiar new New! 2019-05-20 05:59:58For those who dream of owning an actual Air Mag with real power laces can now get their hands on the next best thing. Nike is calling the colorway "W

Bentley captures its 100-year history in a massive, 2019-05-17 14:47:56Bentley's last 100 years is quite a story and to capture it properly, the prestigious automaker teamed up with Opus to tell the story in an absolutel

Blancpain reissues one of its rarest watches, the 2019-05-17 14:15:03Alongside the Fifty Fathoms Barakuda, Blancpain is also reissuing what's considered to be one of their rarest and most valuable models, the Air Comma

Leica celebrates 100 years of Bauhaus with a 2019-05-17 13:45:35Whether you're a Leica collector or simply a fan of everything Bauhaus-related, you'll definitely want one of these new Leica CL "100 years of bauh

Blancpain reissues the Fifty Fathoms Barakuda from the 2019-05-17 05:40:02Blancpain fans looking for a classic Fifty Fathoms design in a smaller case will be excited to know that the company is reissuing the Barakuda model i

Omega turns the Seamaster into an elegant Worldtimer 2019-05-17 05:22:08The Omega Seamaster is going global with a new limited edition GMT Worldtimer model that's based on the Aqua Terra 150M. The 43mm watch features a su

Omega marks 50 years of the Apollo 11 2019-05-17 04:50:40The first watch to make its way onto the lunar surface is celebrating 50 years of the Apollo 11 moon landing with a special edition of the Omega Speed

BMW celebrates 35 years of the M5 2019-05-16 20:13:00This year marks the 35th anniversary of one of the most beloved high-performance BMWs, the M5. The 2020 model is the most powerful version of the M5 e

Jaeger-LeCoultre introduces the Master Grande Tradition Répétition Minutes 2019-05-16 19:46:55Jaeger-LeCoultre has a deep history of building innovative chiming watches and the company considers it to be at the very foundation of their mec

Bring a Trailer launches its Plus and White 2019-05-16 18:42:37Bring a Trailer has definitely made a big impact on vintage car sales and now the company aims to help sellers perfect their listings with two new pre

Rapha's Explore Waterproof Rear Pack is a must-have 2019-05-16 18:18:34When you're riding long distances, a solid piece of bike luggage is always a good call. The only problem is that some bags tend to affect the balance

The Good Men Project

Three Lessons Learned While Transitioning from an Executive New! 2019-05-20 16:30:46Be Courageous, get creative, and make the commitment. The post Three Lessons Learned While Transitioning from an Executive to an Entrepreneur appeare

Hear a Pretty Touching Tale in ‘Planet Earth New! 2019-05-20 16:00:17Learn all about Nova in ‘Planet Earth is Blue’ There are some really good books out there right now. I have been lucky to read many of the

Giving Our Kids Power to Deal New! 2019-05-20 15:30:52The battle against Nature Deficit Disorder. The post Giving Our Kids Power to Deal appeared first on The Good Men Project.

Coming Out To Parents in 1975 New! 2019-05-20 15:00:35“You’re Our Son. We Love You. Be Home By Midnight.” The post Coming Out To Parents in 1975 appeared first on The Good Men Project.

Do Something Really Old School – Write Your New! 2019-05-20 14:30:33Writing my son has made our relationship stronger. Writing him has made us both better men. The post Do Something Really Old School – Write You

Overcoming Fear (Or, Life is Like a Rollercoaster) New! 2019-05-20 14:00:47How can you step outside of your comfort zone in order to honor your calling and purpose? The post Overcoming Fear (Or, Life is Like a Rollercoaster)

Enter, Father New! 2019-05-20 13:30:08The Magical Moment Checking in at the triage ward of the Women and Children’s hospital is a moment of reckoning for a man. It means you’ve

Unless You Are a Toddler, You Should Not New! 2019-05-20 13:00:21Time to grow up. The post Unless You Are a Toddler, You Should Not Need Anyone’s Undivided Attention appeared first on The Good Men Project.

Finding Yourself After Divorce (and Other Trauma) New! 2019-05-20 12:30:47There’s no shortcut to reclaiming your life. The post Finding Yourself After Divorce (and Other Trauma) appeared first on The Good Men Project.

What Turns Men On? New! 2019-05-20 12:00:34I will get straight to the point and be a bit open and blunt about it. The post What Turns Men On? appeared first on The Good Men Project.

No One Can Save You New! 2019-05-20 11:30:49Why we're all our own experts. The post No One Can Save You appeared first on The Good Men Project.

Survival Traits of Resilient, Successful People New! 2019-05-20 11:00:02Develop Strategies that Make you Better in the Workplace, in Relationships, and In Your Daily Life The post Survival Traits of Resilient, Successful P


This Stunning Outdoor Resort Is the Ultimate Stargazer's New! 2019-05-20 16:18:06A luxurious new South American resort offers stargazers the ultimate celestial paradise. Settled nearly 12,000 feet above sea level on the arid grou

Here Are All the Best Memes From 'Game New! 2019-05-20 14:57:30One good thing about Game of Thrones: It's ardent, social media-loving fanbase can make some wickedly funny memes. Especially when the show is p

Season 3 'Westworld' Trailer Introduces Aaron Paul to New! 2019-05-20 14:31:26Just because Game of Thrones is finally finished, doesn’t mean that HBO has stopped betting big on prestige dramas. Assuming that the pay cable

Rapper Future Gave His 5-Year-Old Son a Gold New! 2019-05-20 13:27:36Hip-hop heavyweight Future gifted his son, Future Zahir Wilburn, one swanky accessory for his 5th birthday.  The Atlanta-bred rapper, who he

The Bentley Bentayga Bengala Is Half Luxury SUV, New! 2019-05-20 11:23:19The ultra-posh Bentley Bentayga is getting a gritty makeover fit for a military tank.  Bengala Automotive Design, a Spanish design house previous

Someone Left a Water Bottle in the 'Game New! 2019-05-20 10:30:02It was one of the last big moments in Game of Thrones. Most surviving major characters were gathered listening to Peter Dinklage's Tyrion Lannister e

Moët & Chandon's Cellar Master On Why The New! 2019-05-20 08:00:00Champagne, that most aristocratic of libations, is at crossroads.  Exports have now overtaken domestic consumption of the French sparkling wine t

Bella Hadid Kissed a Female Robot in a 2019-05-19 16:01:17Bella Hadid is heterosexual, therefore she's not allowed to kiss women. Even robots who look like women. Even virtual reality robots that don't have

Deontay Wilder Ends Dominic Breazeale Feud With Vicious 2019-05-19 16:00:18Well, that was quick. Deontay Wilder made very short work of Dominic Breazeale Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The bad blood between th

Joe Rogan Responds To His Eerily Accurate AI-Generated 2019-05-19 12:44:37The future is here, and it's scaring the hell out of podcaster extraordinaire and MMA commentator Joe Rogan. As it should, since someone made an AI p

Viral Video Shows Arnold Schwarzenegger Drop-Kicked While Greeting 2019-05-18 16:03:57A crazed man attacked Arnold Schwarzenegger with a flying double dropkick to his back, sending The Terminator tumbling at a sports event for scho

2019 Ferrari 488 Pista Drive Review: A Supercar 2019-05-18 07:00:00The launch of any new Ferrari is always an epic automotive event. The supercar's signature red color scheme, iconic Prancing Horse branding

Real Men Real Style

Punch Procrastination In The Face! 5 FAIL PROOF 2019-05-11 07:55:19The post Punch Procrastination In The Face! 5 FAIL PROOF Steps To Get S*** Done! appeared first on Real Men Real Style. Related posts:Harvey Specter

Best Men’s Colognes: 10 AMAZING Summer Fragrances 2019-05-09 07:55:42The post Best Men’s Colognes: 10 AMAZING Summer Fragrances appeared first on Real Men Real Style. Related posts:5 NEWBIE Style Rules To Break A

10 Items EVERY Guy Needs MORE Of To 2019-05-07 07:55:01The post 10 Items EVERY Guy Needs MORE Of To Be Successful (Own Multiples & Level-Up Your Style) appeared first on Real Men Real Style. Related p

20 Signs You Care TOO Much About Style 2019-05-05 08:00:31The post 20 Signs You Care TOO Much About Style appeared first on Real Men Real Style. Related posts:How To Reset A Bad Day | 5 Tips To Recover From

How To Dress In Your 20s (Style Tips 2019-05-04 07:55:50The post How To Dress In Your 20s (Style Tips For Men) appeared first on Real Men Real Style. Related posts:Men’s Style Upgrade | Collar Stays

10 Mistakes Older Guys Make Trying To Look 2019-05-02 07:55:46The post 10 Mistakes Older Guys Make Trying To Look Young appeared first on Real Men Real Style. Related posts:First 5 Shoes Every Man NEEDS | The Be

7 Minimalist Men’s Wardrobe Essentials & How To 2019-04-30 07:55:16The post 7 Minimalist Men’s Wardrobe Essentials & How To Buy appeared first on Real Men Real Style. Related posts:First 5 Shoes Every Man N

A Guide To Social Dress Codes For Men 2019-04-28 08:00:22The post A Guide To Social Dress Codes For Men (Clothing Etiquette Rules) appeared first on Real Men Real Style. Related posts:How To Sew On A Button

7 Tricks To Save $100 (Or More!) When 2019-04-27 07:55:18The post 7 Tricks To Save $100 (Or More!) When Buying Luxury Shoes appeared first on Real Men Real Style. Related posts:Italian vs American Dress Sho

10 Watch Styles Every Man Should Know 2019-04-25 07:55:04The post 10 Watch Styles Every Man Should Know appeared first on Real Men Real Style. Related posts:10 Simple Men’s Style Upgrades – Quic

10 Scientifically Proven Ways To Be More Attractive 2019-04-23 07:55:37The post 10 Scientifically Proven Ways To Be More Attractive appeared first on Real Men Real Style. Related posts:Seduce With Style | Sexiest Clothin

10 Famous Clothing Logos With Hidden Meaning 2019-04-21 07:55:22The post 10 Famous Clothing Logos With Hidden Meaning appeared first on Real Men Real Style. Related posts:Sherpa Jacket How To Tie The Eldredge Kno


Suitsupply Opens First Store in Paris 2019-05-10 12:15:46All proceeds from sales made on the store's opening day went to the Notre-Dame restoration fund.

Rose in Good Faith Seeks to Diversify Through 2019-05-10 11:48:57The Los Angeles line is set to bring its line before buyers at Paris Fashion Week.

Agentry to Open New York Fashion Week: Men’s 2019-05-09 13:16:01The showcase on June 3 will include an inaugural All Stars Showcase.

CEO Talks: Bonobos’ Micky Onvural Takes Unique Marketing 2019-05-08 00:01:04Since becoming ceo last year, she has helped enhance the culture at the online retailer.

EXCLUSIVE: Randa Acquires Haggar Brand 2019-05-07 16:45:38The purchase brings the accessories manufacturer into the apparel business.

Bristol Studio Comes Into Its Own 2019-05-07 13:17:38The elevated men’s brand, centered around basketball culture, is forging a path for itself following some retooling of the business.

Pitti Uomo Brings Out the Big Guns for 2019-05-07 13:02:26While challenges are affecting the Italian fashion and textile industry, the Florentine trade show is gearing up to affirm its leading role in the men

Sterling Ruby: Pitti Uomo a ‘No Brainer’ to 2019-05-02 17:20:16The artist will present his label S.R. Studio. LA. CA in Florence next month.

Southern Tide, Reyn Spooner Partner on Capsule 2019-05-01 09:42:21The Hawaiian-themed shirt line is available beginning today.

Dior to Open Men’s Pop-ups Featuring Soroyama Robot 2019-05-01 08:16:58The first will be at CityCenterDC in Washington, followed by Holt Renfrew in Toronto and South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Penney’s Changes Chief Men’s Merchant 2019-04-24 16:36:50Jeff Useforge has replaced James Starke as head of the company's men's division.

J.Hilburn Adds Chief Marketing Officer 2019-04-24 11:20:17Casey Shilling will work to enhance the men's wear brand's omnichannel business.

Breaking Muscle

Fit to Fight Sleep Apnea 2019-05-09 13:30:39The reality is, 80 percent of people who have sleep apnea don’t know it. When we think about sleep apnea, we usually consider it a fat man&rsquo

Ditch the Rigid Meal Plan 2019-05-08 16:37:53Often, when people fall off their meal plan, not only do they feel like a failure they also have no idea what they should eat and then, all hell reall

10 Transformational Habits That Really Force a Change 2019-05-07 16:00:15The most sustainable, sensible, and successful lifestyle habits aren’t always sexy, but they work. Fads drive the fitness industry. Calorie coun

Fatigue: It's Just an Emotion 2019-05-06 16:06:22When it comes to fatigue during exercise, it’s all in your head.   read more

Eccentric Abdominal Training 2019-05-01 21:17:30Granted, abs are made in the kitchen, but they’re forged in the gym!   read more

Training the Trainer 2019-04-30 19:03:56Let your ego go, apologize when appropriate, and practice often.   So, you’ve passed your training certification. Congratulations.  

Women and Iron 2019-04-29 11:22:16Almost 50 percent of women and three-quarters of teenaged females aren’t getting enough iron from their food. Generally speaking, women are smal

Useful Shame: Countering Junk Food and Smartphone Addiction 2019-04-29 06:50:14Few influences have been as broadly destructive as unchecked smartphone culture and junk food eating habits. In a wave of evangelical fervor, the 18th

Effective Workouts You Can Do at Home 2019-04-27 19:27:34Ditch the I can’t get to the gym excuses, because there’s no place like home. Ditch the I can’t get to the gym excuses because there

You Should Be Taking Cold Showers 2019-04-25 20:51:03From rejuvenating your skin, reducing fats, to relaxing your mind, a cold shower has them all. You’re probably used to warm water when taking a

Muscle For Life

The Best Diets and Workouts for Your Body 2019-05-10 09:00:48Are you an ectomorph? Mesomorph? Endomorph? Does body type even matter? Listen to this podcast to find out. ..Read the full article on Muscle for Life

Muscle for Life Success: Alan C. 2019-05-10 09:00:25Alan lost 62 pounds in 6 months and got stronger on every lift following my Bigger Leaner Stronger program! ..Read the full article on Muscle for Life

The Best Bodyweight Workouts and Exercises You Can 2019-05-08 09:00:29If you want to use bodyweight workouts and exercises to “be your own gym” and gain muscle and strength without going to the gym, this arti

Dr. Spencer Nadolsky on How Not to Die 2019-05-08 09:00:07If you want to know how diet affects your risk of heart disease and what you can do to avoid it, you want to listen to this podcast. ..Read the full a

What’s New and Exciting in April? Legion Rebranding, 2019-05-06 07:00:54My team and I get asked often about what’s going on over here at Muscle for Life, so, here’s the latest and greatest as of April 2019. ..R

Muscle for Life Success: Bart C. 2019-05-03 09:00:35Bart gained 6.5 pounds of lean muscle in 10 months and got stronger on my Bigger Leaner Stronger program! ..Read the full article on Muscle for Life T

The Best Chest Workouts for Building Awesome Pecs 2019-05-01 09:00:29If you want strong, powerful, and defined pecs that pop, you want to do these chest exercises and workouts. ..Read the full article on Muscle for Life

Sal Di Stefano on Mastering the Mental Side 2019-05-01 09:00:20If you want to know how to deal with the mental hobgoblins that make it hard to eat properly, work out regularly, and deal with body image issues, you

What “They” Aren’t Telling You About Sugar Withdrawal 2019-04-29 09:00:40If you want to know the truth about sugar withdrawal, and what to do about it, then you want to listen to this podcast. ..Read the full article on Mus

Muscle For Life Success: Wayne F. 2019-04-26 09:00:43Wayne dropped 50 pounds in 12 months and added 170 pounds to his major lifts on my Bigger Leaner Stronger program! ..Read the full article on Muscle f

Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.