President Donald Trump stands in front of a portrait of Andrew Jackson before Rex Tillerson's swearing-in as secretary of state (February 1, 2017).
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How I Feel As a Native Woman When Trump Idolizes Andrew Jackson

Trump has called Andrew Jackson a "military hero and genius and a beloved president."
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Our tribal government fought tooth and nail through the colonial system to prevent removal, only to be thwarted by a sham treaty and an overreaching executive branch. (Hear that Huckabee? Wasn’t an overreaching court.) Jackson sent 7,000 armed troops to round up Cherokee citizens, removing them from their homes, not allowing them to gather belongings, and placing them in stockades, like cattle. They then endured freezing months of marching without enough wagons, clothing, or food. In our language, the translation for this march is “The trail where we cried” — the Trail of Tears.

I think about my ancestors on that march. I think about how that’s actually not that long ago, and my great-grandma grew up hearing stories from her grandparents about their experiences on the trail. I think about how I am only here because they somehow survived.

And now, I think about how it is unfathomable that we are being told by a sitting president to think of this genocide orchestrated by Jackson as a “product of his time,” and that we should “build on [his] legacy.”

But I also think about the resistance that runs through my Cherokee lineage. I can look to my ancestors and know, even at great cost, that we resisted. We fought through a system not meant for us, we fought once we arrived in Indian Territory to survive and maintain our culture and language, and we continue to fight today. To understand resistance, we need to look to Native peoples. We are still here, despite every attempt to eradicate us — and we have the warning signs and lessons of how to survive a populist demagogue. We already did it once.
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