Andrew Jackson's tomb at The Hermitage in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo: Rennett Stowe
What happens when a citizen of the Muscogee Nation, goes to the tomb of the man who forced her ancestors to leave their homelands in the 1800s? Stacy Pratt shares her visit to the same spot where President
Donald Trump recently honored Andrew
Fourteen years ago, when my husband was still my fiance, he took me to visit The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s house in Nashville, Tennessee. Joseph was a soldier stationed at nearby Fort Campbell, Kentucky. We had been friends for many years by the time of our visit, and he knew it was something I would want to see.
I’m Muscogee (Creek), and Joseph is not, but he was born and raised in a rural community near Eufaula, Oklahoma, right in the heart of what is now the Creek Nation. (There’s a Eufaula, Alabama too, where our ancestors lived before Andrew Jackson forced the tribes to move to Indian Territory.) Growing up, his babysitters and classmates were Muscogee. His uncles married Muscogee women. He assumed he would grow up and do the same, and he was right.
When we told my mother where we were going, she said, “You ought to plant kudzu in his yard!” We laughed at the idea of the Hermitage caretakers fighting the invasive vines that cover whole buildings and trees in the South. And I actually considered trying, but I never figured out how to manage it, so I had to settle for digging my bootheels into the dirt of his yard, knowingly tracking mud into his house. Signs at The Hermitage warned visitors not to take flowers, leaves, or any other thing from the house or grounds. My pockets were full of sticks and acorns by the time I left.
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