“Surrender means that the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern school teachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the War; will be impressed by all the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, and our maimed veterans as fit subjects for derision.”Patrick Cleburne
Several years ago, I drove my family through Cherokee, North Carolina on vacation. On the roadside just outside town I noticed a stark black billboard. In bold white letters it delivered a message that was simple, yet just as stark, “Know Cherokee History.”
Later, at the visitors’ center I asked about the billboard. The lady behind the counter was more than happy to clue me in.
The maternal side of my family has its roots sunk deep in the hills of North Carolina. My maternal grandmother was Cherokee and my maternal grandfather was Melungeon. All my cousins look the part. I don’t. I take after my father’s melanin-challenged ancestry, who spent their leisure time rowing longboats, pillaging, and posing for the occasional Molly Hatchet album cover.
Like many other peoples, the Eastern Cherokee learned a brutal lesson. A people without a history are a people without pride, without culture. They are lost in an alien wasteland. The life of that people loses its purpose and degenerates from wanton neglect. They have no future outside the limits imposed on them by their conquerors.
There are only two people groups whose history and culture the U.S. government and its educrats have ever beast-marked for destruction. They are the Native American and the Southern American. The Indian Academies and public schools were weapons intended to wipe us both out.
That’s what happens when you lose wars. Your history, your heritage, your entire way of life becomes a tale of villainy. Just like Cleburne warned, you are the official focus of derision lest you remember your past in a positive manner and gain strength from it. That’s what happens when you lose a war. It happens even faster when you lose the peace.
As the lady behind the counter explained, the Eastern Cherokee Nation recognized that this was at the root of the problems on not only the Cherokee, but all Native American reservations. Their campaign to combat cultural genocide started with the simple black billboards along the main road. From there it grew to courses in Cherokee history at the reservation school and eventually some local schools off the res. The result was a gradual, but steady increase in Cherokee pride. They didn’t create a batch of indoctrinated political activists. Instead, the resurgence of Cherokee identity caused a new generation to turn away from all the stereotypical evils that beset reservation life. The campaign has shown so much promise that other tribes are adopting the Cherokee strategy.
The Eastern Cherokee Reservation is unusual. It is a reservation concealed within an even larger reservation: The American South. Thirteen defeated and plundered states compose the largest collective of undesirables on earth and are treated just as any other vanquished tribe. Look around any reservation and you will see pretty much the same thing. Hopelessness, despair, poverty, drug abuse, alcoholism, casinos, and cultural collapse, all in houses of tin with wheels. Sound familiar? It’s all symptomatic of people who are deprived of their past and their vision of the future.
|The American South: Celebrating mediocrity since 1865.|
It’s the same on the largest reservation. Just like an Indian reservation, Southerners cannot elect our own officials without the approval of D.C. and the media. Sure, we’re real popular when the establishment decides to wage one of its wars for profit. But, when the fighting is done and our lives have been wasted in some jungle or desert? The establishment wants us back out of the way. Back on the Res. It gets lonely in that waiting room down at the V.A.
All across the country there is what is best described as am American Taliban at work. They attack any symbol of the South they find. They want flags removed. They want monuments removed. They want streets and schools renamed. They want dead generals dug up. They even want a huge historic sculpture blasted off the side of a mountain, just like their counterparts in Afghanistan did. They say that their war against Southern history is a fight for tolerance. They lie.
If every vestige of southern history were removed tomorrow, it would make no difference to the American Taliban. If every flag, every monument, every statue were ripped up by the roots and cast in a concrete vault in the ocean, they still would not be happy. There is no void in their soul that we can fill, especially not through our acquiescence. These people are not after Southern heritage. They are after Southern identity.
The American Taliban are nationalists in that they believe in an all-powerful nation-state. They are also socialists by nature at their very core. Let’s call them what they really are: National Socialists. You might remember reading something about those guys, the original government supremacists. We’ve fought several wars to insure that they and their kind didn’t get to force their worldview on others. Yet, here they are in America propagating their un-religion of government supremacy again.
Don’t let their campaign of rainbows proclaiming “tolerance” fool you. They are out for blood. They don’t care about symbols. They want to wipe out identity, Southern identity. Just as the Indian academies aimed to eradicate Indian identity.
|One taliban has no more appreciation of art, history, and culture than another.|
The South is what props America up. It has since Jamestown. The South won America’s war for independence. The South wrote our founding documents and still fights all America’s wars. We provide the bulk of America’s food and fuel. We drive her economy with manufacturing for lower than average wages. Yet, we are the problem.
Southern identity, a free people with a Christian philosophy is antithetical to government supremacy. Once again, we are all that stands between totalitarianism and the world. That’s why we must know Southern history. It reinforces our Southern identity. This isn’t about flags. It’s about people.
It doesn’t have to be that way. We can reclaim our future. To do it, we just have to get “Off the Res.” We start by reviving our pride in who we are, just like the Eastern Cherokee, and now other tribes are doing.
That’s why we should know Southern history. That’s why this blog, “This Day in Southern History,” was started. Here, there are no long boring lectures. Our noble past unfolds in easily digested bites. It’s fair. It’s balanced. There’s no propaganda. Our heritage is displayed daily, for all to see – the good alongside the bad.
Those who denigrate Southern heritage and culture want us to believe that there is nothing other than their version of a five-year war to look at. Once you peel back their deception, you soon find there is much more. There is a lot to be proud of, some to regret, but all of it makes us who we are. It makes us who we are destined to be.
If, by chance, you don’t like the history you see here, there is a simple fix. Tomorrow, go out and make history, yourself. Maybe that chapter will be more to your liking. Our history is a growing, living thing. It depends on us. We depend on it. Southern history is not just five years. It’s five hundred. And growing…
Now, join me Off the Res. Reclaim you pride. Reclaim your past. And, Reclaim your future.