American Indians oppose glorification of Andrew Jackson

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – On Jan. 17, Native Americans held a second demonstration here oppposing the campaign of local historians and a newly founded organization to raise the infamous Indian killer, Andrew Jackson to the status of a “great president.” The demonstration was held at the Hermitage, the historic home of Jackson, which is considered a tourist attraction by mainstream society. 

The seventh president of the United States, Jackson is reviled by American Indians across the country. The demonstrations have been  prompted by efforts of the newly-formed Andrew Jackson Foundation (AJF) and local historians lauding him as the ” most important American president,” the ” founder of American democracy” the “People’s President,” and “the most famous citizen Nashville ever produced.” Their actions are part of a commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Jackson’s victory at the battle of New Orleans over the British.  

Jackson carried out the most murderous removal campaign against American Indians – Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Seminoles – in U.S. history. He was directly responsible for the hideous, agonizing deaths of tens of thousands of Native Americans, beginning with the Creek War of 1813-14.

Jackson was accountable for the deaths of thousands of Creek people in that conflict. He envisioned an America without Indians. Jackson led armies that conducted war, a campaign of extermination, against non-combatants – women and children. 

According to present-day Creek sources, hundreds of Creek women and children were also sold into slavery. They were starved, raped and murdered. Creek children, particularly little boys, were sold for $20 each as “pets.” Orphaned children were taken off the battlefields from the bodies of their mothers as “trophies.” Three such children were taken by Jackson himself. 

The matter of the children brings this column to an issue of particular outrage committed by the AJF. As part of the exhibit at the Hermitage Jackson is also praised as ” the first president to raise a Native American child.” This is scandalous and shocking to American Indians, especially to present-day Creeks. The child referred to is Lincoya, a Creek child taken from a battlefield, from the body of his dead mother after Jackson’s army had killed all of his adult relatives. Creek citizens are outraged beyond words that this is considered another reason to praise Jackson. Moreover, he did not raise Lincoya, the poor, captive child died at 16 after repeatedly trying to run away  to rejoin his people. 

The Creek War resulted in one of the greatest land grabs in American history. The fraudulent Treaty of Fort Jackson imposed on the Creek Nation took huge swaths of land in Alabama and Georgia totaling over 23 million acres. This became the basis of the so-called “Cotton Kingdom” of the South, a slave system that ultimately further dispossessed Native Americans, economically  encouraged the  enslavement of African Americans and augmented the impoverishment of poor whites in the region. 

Moreover, the Treaty of Fort Jackson was illegal under the Treaty of Ghent that ended the War of 1812. Article Nine of that Treaty, signed by the U.S. and England, stated that Native Americans who had fought against the United States would not lose any territory. The Treaty was a flagrant violation of Article Nine, meaning that the Creek Nation is still the legal owner of the 23 million acres in Alabama and Georgia.    

After the Creek War, Jackson signed the Indian removal Bill of May 30, 1830 and military enforced fraudulent treaties that further brought death to thousands of Native American men, women, children and elderly. Of the Cherokee “Trail of Tears” it is said that no one under 6 or over 60 survived the hideous march of genocide.

A relatively little known fact is that Cherokees held captive in “Trail of Tears” concentration camps were initially deprived of the use of soap. When Cherokee leaders were final able to prevail upon the Army for the issuance of soap, Jackson upon hearing of this flew into a rage at the Hermitage and demanded that the order allowing for the use of soap be rescinded, so bent was he on Indian extermination. This is the so-called ” People’s President.” What people? Surely not Native American people !

Yet the Andrew Jackson Foundation wants to elevate this monster, this ethnic cleanser to the status of a great president. Jackson was a racist devil incarnate – an early day American Hitler whose deadly legacy for American Indians remains extant to this very day.       

We, American Indians, call upon all decent-minded citizens nationwide to join us in opposition to these efforts to elevate this purveyor of genocide to the status of greatness.

Photo: Andrew Jackson.  |   Wikipedia (CC)


CONTRIBUTOR

Albert Bender
Albert Bender

Albert Bender is a Cherokee Indian. He is a freelance reporter and political columnist for News From Indian Country, and other Native and non-Native publications. He is also a historian and attorney specializing in Native American law. Currently, he is writing a history of the Maya Indian role in the Guatemelan civil war of the late 20th century.

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