Two centuries after being forcibly removed from their homelands, the Cherokee people decided they wanted to come home.
They’d set up new lives for themselves after being relocated to Oklahoma and truth be told many of them prospered, perhaps more so than had they stayed in their original homeland.
But the dream of returning remained strong among them, permeating their art, their music, their poems, their songs, their spirituality. Every generation saw Cherokee chiefs and shamans fervently arguing for return and finally, after many, many generations of Cherokee had come and gone, they decided to return.
The land they wanted lay in the Appalachian Mountains around the point where North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia touched; not a terribly large nor exceptionally valuable piece of real estate.
What it lacked in natural resources it made up for in new inhabitants. Others referred to them by a variety of impolite names — “ridge-runners” “crackers” “peckerwoods” “hillbillies” — but Scots-Irish is as good a label to hang on them as any.
Like the Cherokee, they had their own tragic history.
A few Cherokee still lived among the Scots-Irish in that region, some peaceably, some not (in fairness it was Scots-Irish bigots who had problems with the Cherokee, not the other way around).
As a new generation of relocated Cherokee began moving into the area, friction arose.
Many Scots-Irish in the area saw no problem with Cherokees moving in so long as the Scots-Irish and their culture remained in charge. Cherokee were free to live as they like on lands they purchased just so long as they didn’t upset the Scots-Irish apple cart.
However, a significant number of Scots-Irish resented the influx of Cherokee, fearing — and rightly so, as events played out — that the Cherokee intended to usurp their authority and control.
As more and more Cherokee moved in including a huge influx directly fleeing intense anti-Cherokee violence in Oklahoma, their ultimate aim for the area became known: It was not enough to merely return to the geographic area where their tribe originated, they needed to establish — or in their view re-establish – the Cherokee tribe as an independent nation.
Meaning they would be in charge.
Meaning things would be run their way.
The Scots-Irish in the area fell into three camps over this:
Those (admittedly few in number) who thought the Cherokee could do as good if not a better job of running things than their own corrupt local and state governments
Those who were willing to live-and-let-live and allow the Cherokee some territory to call their own so long as they didn’t take all of it
Those outraged by the idea of Cherokee coming back to take land from them that their families had lived on for generations (they pointed out that if the Cherokee were treated badly by the Oklahomans, then it was a problem they needed to take up with Oklahoma, not Appalachia)
Add to the mix Scots-Irish pedagogues and politicians who lived outside the immediate area but saw a profit in keeping things stirred up among the Appalachian Scots-Irish.
Things finally reached a tipping point:
The Cherokee grew in number to the point where they were able to declare independence.
The United Nations tried to smooth things over by dividing the territory in two as fairly as they could and telling both sides to respect the borders and live peaceably with one another.
While many Scots-Irish fled the Cherokee territory, fearing discrimination, many others stayed.
Russia, saying in essence “Hey, they’re ‘reds’ and we used to be ‘reds’ so we like them”, recognized the Cherokee’s national independence and implicitly threatened to protect the Cherokee under their own nuclear umbrella. China and other nuclear super-powers soon joined in. The United States was in no position to go to war over the issue.
While they thought they still had a chance, the Scots-Irish in and around the area decided to destroy the nascent nation once and for all. They warned Scots-Irish living in non-Cherokee controlled territory to flee the area so as not to be accidentally hurt in the upcoming war. They told the Scots-Irish who chose to remain under Cherokee control that they’d either have to turn on their new neighbors or be slaughtered along with them.
The refugees fled to nearby camps, expecting a swift return once the fighting stopped.
But when the fighting stopped, the Cherokee had not only soundly beaten the Scots-Irish attackers but now claimed much of the U.N. territory previously apportioned for the Scots-Irish.
This did not make the Scots-Irish happy.
Over the next half century, as one pedagogue after another who lived outside the immediate area stirred them up and told them they must annihilate the Cherokee and their loathsome allies, the Scots-Irish launched war after war against the Cherokee.
And the Cherokee beat them and beat them badly every single time, typically taking more and more of the U.N. apportioned Scots-Irish territory as they did.
Finally the local Scots-Irish leadership had enough and struck a very rough peace with the Cherokee: No more official massive attacks on the Cherokee nation, the Scots-Irish would be left to their own in their territory.
The Cherokee agreed, but were unwilling to surrender much of the territory they’d conquered by that point. They also unilaterally declared their right to massive retaliation if the Scots-Irish leadership didn’t keep a damper on their own population.
Scots-Irish refugees, living in camps for half a century now, felt outrage at this: Where was their right to return to their homes?
Scots-Irish living within Cherokee held areas resented the heavy handed way the Cherokee administered the territory, especially how they denied Scots-Irish basic civil rights afforded the Cherokee. (The Cherokee, of course, argued they needed to do so in order to protect peaceable Cherokees from attacks by Scots-Irish gangs.)
The Scots-Irish who were already living with the Cherokee when the wars started now found themselves cut off from their Scots-Irish relatives and, no matter how much sympathy they had for them or irritation at the Cherokee, were forced to ally themselves with the Cherokee because all other Scots-Irish had sworn their destruction as well.
Scots-Irish pedagogues outside the area saw their own personal fortunes tied to how well they encouraged the Appalachian Scots-Irish to cling to their dream of destroying the Cherokee or at the very least driving them out of most of the territory.
Scots-Irish politicians in North Carolina and Tennessee and George and other states with large Scots-Irish populations also gave lip service to the Appalachian Scots-Irish reclaiming their land, but were damned if they were going to let the Scots-Irish refugees settle in their states because (a) they were dirt poor and would be a strain on their own resources and (b) they were filled with firebrands who would upset their own states’ relatively stable politics and cost the politicians their jobs.
They suggested that perhaps Russia could take in some of the Scots-Irish refugees and while the Russians did make a big show of accepting a handful of token immigrants, no real solution was to be found in that area.
North Carolina, Tennessee, and George did a lot of business with Russia, and they did not want the ruble-train cut off.
The Cherokee also did a lot of business with Russia as well, and while the Cherokee built their own excellent weapons for their own highly skilled armed forces, they bought a lot of Russian weapons as well. The Russians, to keep this lucrative market open, gave the Cherokee a lot of rubles in aid, far more rubles than they doled out to the Scots-Irish of North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia.
And that is where things stand right now.
- If you were a Scots-Irish living in Cherokee controlled territory or in a refugee camp, would you passively accept your fate?
- If the answer to the above is “no” then aren’t you also arguing the Palestinians shouldn’t passively accept their fate?
- Solving the Middle East dilemma, especially in regards to Israel, ain’t that easy, is it?