Celtic Blood, Cherokee Blood, and Nature's Earthly Spirits
|Helen Terry Dunton c. 1912|
|Beyond the American Pale|
In David M. Emmons book, Beyond the American Pale: The Irish in the West, 1845-1910, he points out interesting contrasts between the "wild" Catholic Irish, and the more respected Scots Irish who had been the Protestant dissenters. And he draws interesting parallels between England's attempts to rid Ireland of the Irish, and America's attempt to rid America of it's Native Americans. "Both peoples had 'a wealth of folk tales and a host of legends...and strange beliefs touching every native plant and animal...for the Irish, every cave, rock, inlet, cove, headland, hillock, hill, drumlin, rill, pond, and bog and all who lived in, on, over, and under them had a name."
This quote will make you want to read Emmon's chapter "Savage Twins" cautiously. I question the statements that generalize (such as implying that all Indians were buffalo hunters). Or this one: "Neither people had well established work habits," he writes. "Both were materially poor beyond powers of description." He seems to draw his conclusions from post-contact historians and anthropologists (none of them Native to my knowledge). It's interesting to note that had the Cherokee leaders NOT been prosperous in the early 1800s, both in land and culture, and had the literacy of the entire Cherokee Nation and the Cherokee Supreme Court not been a threat to the encroaching nonliterate immigrants, and had the gold on the Cherokee land not been coveted, the Trail of Tears might never have been forced upon them.