Robert Warrior: A memorial day for Indian Removal Act of 1830

"Memorial Day in the Osage is a big deal, and deservedly so. Along with remembering the many Osages who have sacrificed their lives in military service to the United States (the original purpose of the holiday), people back home lovingly decorate graves as extensively as any community of people in the United States. I don’t often get to be there on Memorial Day, but when I do I treasure the opportunity to feel the weight of memory as it exists for our reservation community.

One thing few of us Osages and few Native people I know remember this time of year is the anniversary of the signing of the Indian Removal Act by U.S. President Andrew Jackson on May 28, 1830. Memorial Day and that anniversary are on the same day this year, and I’d like to suggest that all of us from the Native world increase the honor to those we memorialize when we understand their sacrifice in the light of Removal, the federal policy whose cascading effects have ended up impacting all of us.

It would be easy to say, “The Osages, Mohawks, Hopis, and Ojibwe have plenty else to remember. Let the Cherokees, Creeks, Shawnees, and others who were force-marched across the continent keep alive the chilling stories of losing land and life before the crashing waves of white settlement.”"

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Robert Warrior: Memorializing the Indian Removal Act of 1830 (Indian Country Today 5/28)

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