There were no magical shoes worn on the Senate floor in the spring of 1830. Magic was also conspicuously absent along the Great Plains, the Mississippi River Basin, and especially at the White House where the American flag unfurled for the virtues of liberty and justice for all. The “Indian problem,” as it was termed, enabled a legalized reign of purposeful dehumanization that was celebrated for the common good of one-sided standards. I never was taught the inglorious story of a law called the Indian Removal Act, and I suspect that it was not taught in your grade school either. Yet in 1830, a law that mandated the removal of an entire culture was deemed necessary by an American government that acted in “the best interests of the ‘common man.’”
Although I am not an American Indian, my discreet motivation for writing Monumental Heroes in Twists, Turns, and Yellow Brick Roads is twofold:
First, in the words of Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of An Indigenous People’s History of the United States: “The American Indians cry out for their stories to be heard.” I intend to honor and echo the Indians’ cry in my writing and my children’s home school.
Second, despite the determined efforts to annihilate an entire culture, the massacred Indians’ sacred blood still flows beneath the paved highways, polluted rivers, and self-glorifying monuments of American Manifest Destiny.
Rather than continuing to cover up the atrocities of programmed genocide with one-sided fairy-tales, we would be well served to learn the magic of humility by paying proper respect to all that has been lost.