My name is Akecheta – a fighter for my native tribe in the Great Plains of Turtle Isle. If you are reading this, I have since died fighting off the invaders of my land. However, as a testament to my people and their struggle against the white man, let me tell you about my life in the manner that will endeavor not to bore you.
I was born twenty-seven years ago – born amongst the calm forests and serene waters. My father and mother offered me the name Akecheta, and my tribe danced and celebrated for seven suns and six moons. My mother, I hardly remember as she died while I remained young and fragile. My father, however, was a strong pillar and warrior teacher of our small village. This came to be useful when the white men came.
When the white men came, my days of hunting fish, running with deer, and making peace with the Great One and the Spirits were gone. The men, pale in face and foxy in smirk, came with the promise of peace and our people, benevolent and kind, agreed. Yet, they took my sister away and raped her, raped her, and raped her again. Then, she died from the pain and humiliation. We confronted them about this and they denied it but we all knew – even I, little as I was, knew.
We caught them again, trying to steal our women and kill our people. We fought back with the tools granted to us by nature and the Great One. We learned that the white man’s guns, resounding and loud, were greater than our hunting weapons but we were quickly adapted to their ways and learned to kill them with their own weapons. Blood was soon traded between both sides and before anyone could prevent it, I – a 10 year old – was learning how to shoot a rifle. I was 12 when I first shot the devil. I watched his blue eyes go lifeless, his pale skin turn paler, and his body go limp. My gun smoked and I felt nothing at seeing him die. I felt only that divine justice had finally been served.
10 years later, my father had died in the long war and I took his place as leader of our forces. My co-commander and childhood friend, Etchemin, and I planned an attack on the trading shipments to the rich and powerful; the people they constantly went to and appeased in order to amass funds for the war.
We ambushed them in a canyon, having scouted out their route and pathways beforehand. We learned they had seven men guarding the convoy and us two had planned on how we would kill them, having practiced the efficiency beforehand. But the plan changed when we saw what was being transported – Etchemin’s wife, who we had believed to be long gone and deceased. Emotional, he recklessly pursued her, yelling:
“Leave our lands, devils! Damn you all! May you burn! Return my wife! May you burn!”
“Etchemin!” I called out.
BANG! BANG, BANG!
They killed his wife and him in front of me. Three shots rang, three shots hit. I watched them reach out for each other in cold numbness before peacefully drifting off, wrapped in violent deaths. The surviving men chased me through the forests, shooting at me while I stifled tears and dark thoughts. They chased me but they knew not our forests like I did. They were foreigners, evil men worthy of arrows through their throats. That was all I felt, all I thought. The thoughts consumed me, even after the fire.
Two years ago, they came upon us. They snuck through our camp like cowards in the night, killing all men and taking all women and children. Those of us who kept guard, including me, fought them all and fought them bravely, but they killed us off. Once again, I narrowly avoided death by escaping to the forest, leaving my people behind my back to the white man’s hand, to the white man’s lusts, and to the white man’s will.
Since then, I have been the sole survivor of my tribe. History would perhaps remember the Iroquois but not us for we will not be remembered. Like our African brothers in torture, whatever bastards birth from the white man’s seed spilling into the soils of our enslaved women, those children would not be reminded of their proud heritage. Gradually, they would lose their language, their history, their heritage, and eventually, their beautiful color.
Damn the white man.
If you are reading this now, I am no longer here. Since that event two years ago, I have been a man lost in the woods. I write and write to keep my sanity amongst the ghostly whispers of the dead through the trees.
I have found a camp that has a large town of white folk. I intend to go in and die a martyr. I shall do as they did to us – kill their men and their children, and take their women. I shall exact justice for my brethren – to do what is truly just and only fair.
The white man has taken everything from me: my father, my dear friend, my children, my wife, my people, my humanity. I can no longer see the light and when it comes, I shun it. I refuse to live among the serenity of nature as a beast. I will do as beasts do – I shall kill them all. To all who are reading this, remember the name “Akecheta” and his retribution against the evil on our lands.
May my people prevail.
The names of Waitie and Boudinot –
The valiant warrior and gifted sage —
And other Cherokees, may be forgot,
But thy name shall descend to every age;
The mysteries enshrouding Cadmus’ name
Cannot obscure thy claim to fame.
The people’s language cannot perish – nay!
When from the face of this great continent
Inevitable doom hath swept away
The last memorial – the last fragment
Of tribes, some scholar learned shall pore
Upon thy letters, seeking ancient lore.
Some bard shall lift a voice in praise of thee,
In moving numbers tell the world how men
Scoffed thee, hissed thee, charged with lunacy?
And who could not give ‘nough honor when
At length, in spite of jeers, of want and need,
Thy genius shaped a dream into a deed.
By cloud-capped summits in the boundless west,
Or mighty river rolling to the sea,
Where’er thy footsteps led thee on that quest,
Unknown, rest thee, illustrious Cherokee?
Alexander L. Posey
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