"it was here, in the smokey mountains that in 1838 the #cherokee #indians
were evicted from their homes in the dead of winter by white settlers’ hungry for their land and #gold—even though a #u.s. #treaty
and a u.s. #supreme #court
decision guaranteed their land rights—and forced to walk more than a third of the way across the continent to #oklahoma, a march that would k**l 4,000 people and come to be known as the #trailoftears." "#john
#muir, apparently, was ignorant of this #history. he described the cherokee homes he found as, “the uncouth transitionist …wigwams of #savages.” he described the homes of the verysettlers who may well have drove them out as, “decked with #flowers
and #vines, clean within and without, and stamped with the comforts of culture and refinement.” for a man who supposedly walked with eyes wide open, this is a profound moment of blindness."
#tribes, ledford wants us to understand, were full of john muirs.
this is the dark side of the muir #mythology, and one that was highlighted on his southern journey. the man who thought of nature as a cathedral, and regarded, “whales and elephants, dancing, humming gnats,” and even “invisibly small mischievous microbes” as divine, regarded native americans as subhuman. later, in #california, he called them: “dirty,” “garrulous as jays,” “superstitious,” “lazy”. such denigration is particularly surprising, as muir’s #spiritual
embrace of nature could have been taken right out of a native american #mind. “was muir so caught up in manifest #destiny
that he refused to notice what came before? was he so caught up with plants that he failed to notice who first tended them? was he still under the influence of his parochial father, who once said, in a debate with a #wisconsin
neighbor, “it could never have been the intention of #god
to allow #indians
to rove and hunt over so #fertile
and hold it forever in unproductive wildness while #scotch
and irish and #english #farmers
could put it to so much better use.” or, was muir’s aversion to native americans merely a product of his dislike for people he saw as technologically backwards? the distinction might not even matter.”