Responses to Removal
Digital History ID 672
George W. Harkins
In a farewell letter to the American people, George Harkins, a Choctaw leader, denounces the evils of the removal policy.
But having determined to emigrate west of the Mississippi River this fall, I have thought proper in bidding you farewell, to make a few remark as of my views and the feelings that actuate me on the subject of our removal....
We were hedged in by two evils, and we chose that which we thought least. Yet we could not recognize the right that the state of Mississippi had assumed to legislate for us.... admitting that they understood the people, could they remove that mountain of prejudice that has ever obstructed the streams of justice, and prevented their salutary influence from reaching my devoted countrymen? We as Choctaws rather chose to suffer and be free, than live under the degrading influence of laws, where our voice could not be heard in their formation....
Taking an example from the American government, and knowing the happiness which its citizens enjoy, under the influence of mild republican institutions, it is the intention of our countrymen to form a government assimilated to that of our white brethren in the United States, as nearly as their condition will permit....
Friends, my attachment to my native land is strong--that cord is now broken; and we must go forth as wanderers in a strange land!...
Here is the land of our progenitors, and here are their bones; they left them as a sacred deposit, and we have been compelled to venerate its trust; it is dear to us yet we cannot stay....
Source: American Indian (December, 1926).
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