A Story of the Cherokee Removal as it might have been seen through the eyes of a seven year old boy
The dirty looking white man in the soldier's uniform stood so close Otter Skin he could smell the body stink. The other white soldiers with him, there
were five of them, stood with their muskets at the ready. Otter Skin had told his wife, Spring Doe, and his son, Young Bear, to go into the woods and hide. The young brave had told them that the white men were drinking the evil drink and were up to no good. He would feel better knowing they were safely hidden in the forest.
Otter Skin had heard the soldiers coming through the woods long before they reached his cabin. They were drinking something from a jug. The dirty soldier standing next to Otter Skin seemed to be in charge. Each time he spoke to the other soldiers they moved to do as he told them. In a few minutes four more soldiers came out of the woods pushing Spring Doe and Young Bear before them. They must have been watching for some time. The dirty white man looked at the woman and laughed. He asked Otter Skin if he thought he could fool white men. Then he had told them he was taking them to Red Clay. From there they would be sent to the west to a place called Oklahoma, to the Indian Nations. They would never see their home again.
Otter Skin started to move. He took a step toward the white man. The white man told him if he took another step or resisted or in any way he had instructed his men to shoot the pup he called a son. Then he would give the squaw to his men. They would tie him to a tree and he would be forced to watch before they killed him. Otter Skin knew there was nothing he could do except follow the dirty white soldier's orders. He called his wife and son to his side. They stood and watched as the soldiers ransacked their cabin. They took everything of any value. Afterwards they set fire to the home of Otter Skin and his family. When Otter Skin started to protest the white man told him, "You ain't gonna need it no more."
As they sat on the ground and watched the cabin burn Young Bear wondered what was going to be done with them. The only home he has ever known was being destroyed. Everything they owned was being stolen or burned. He wondered why the white men had come to their valley? Where was the place the soldiers had said they were going? He had told Otter Skin all the savages east of the great river were going to Oklahoma. He knew they were talking about the people. He had been called a
savage before. He did not know what it meant but he knew it was something bad. Otter Skin's hands were tied behind his back. Spring Doe's hands were tied together and Young Bear was told if he tried to run away the soldiers would shoot his father and mother. Otter Skin knew he would have to wait for the right time. He knew there would come a time when he would not be watched, a time when the soldiers would be occupied with something else. Maybe a dark, rainy, night. To keep his wife and son safe he could wait for that time. Then they were led off through the mountains, to the west, to a place called Red Clay.
The Saga of Young Bear is a copyrighted creation of Dick One Eagle AKA Comanche.
This story may not be copied or used in any way without the express written permission of the author.