As the day dawned windy and overcast, members of the Cherokee Cultural Society of Houston, honored speakers and vendors steadily prepared for the events of the day. The rain that we had feared did not come, but the wind and the cold did. Blasts of bone chilling cold whipped through blankets and sweaters as people huddled under awnings. Somehow it was fitting for the day. Black armbands had been passed to the elders and children in the crowd. We wanted people to understand the depth of the loss for our ancestors. J.C. High Eagle opened our event with prayer, reminding us with words what we had all been feeling in our hearts. This day was very much like the days in 1838 when our ancestors too had stood in the cold and began their walk. For them, this would have been a "good day". As we began our memorial "trail of tears" through West Montgomery County Park, the Cherokee words to Amazing Grace lofted over the trees like feathers caught in a strong breeze. Those who walked at the end of the line wearing black armbands were proud of the people walking before us - and the ones who had walked long before us.
Later, we heard stories from the voices of Sequoyah, John Ross, Major Ridge, Sarah Ridge, Sam Houston, Richard Fields and Nancy Ward. Native American flute music and dancing interspersed the day as people stayed as long as they beared, warming themselves however they could. It was a day we will not forget. It was a powerful day.
Red Nations Remembering is on the second Sunday in March each year (The third annual event is on March 14, 1999). People from all tribes are invited to participate in their local communities or join the Cherokee ultural Society in Houston at our annual event. Our purpose is to share our stories with the young so that we will never forget.
A special thanks to those communities who took this on with us this year. To name the few we heard from: Ohio, Tennessee, New Jersey, Idaho, New Mexico, and two islands of Hawaii: Kauai and The Big Island. Blessings to all who participated and we didn't hear as well. We would
love to hear about all the events.
The Intertribal Council of Houston honored CCS at their March pow wow with a $10.00 contribution. We thank them for their kindness and
RememberingThin moccasins cover my tender feet
By Cyndie Campbell-Menard
The wind blows fiercely - screaming in my ears
I shiver - my lungs protest the cold air
My steps are halting as I pick my way through the thorns
My brain complains
My heart breaks
Tears betray my emotion
Spilling from my eyes - running down my face
Someone sings Amazing Grace
My throat constricts - I am unable to speak
My thoughts are forced back
Back to another walk
Thin moccasins cover some feet
Some are bare - bleeding
Winter's menace picks on the weak
Small children cry for their mothers
Mothers left behind
Mothers in shallow stone covered graves
But onward they march
Forced to leave all that they knew
All that was sacred
And onward I march
Pushing aside my minor discomfort
Proud to hold my face to the wind
Honored to remember
(to be copyrighted)
Houston Zoological Gardens; Target; Coca-Cola Bottling Co.; Primis Corporation; Harlin Grocery, Magnolia; Cheech & Gary; John Herrington; Chad Smith; Tommy Wildcat; Dr. Jonathan Hook; Frank McLemore; Billie Miller; Wal-Mart/Samís Wholesale Club; Academy; Brookshire Bros., Magnolia; West University Marble; Larking Signs; S & B Engineers; Gregg Howard; J. C. High Eagle; Larry Sampson; Hal Cooper.
Committee Members/ Performers/Workers:
Deborah Scott; Julie Williams; Joe Williams; Cindy Linnenkohl; Victor Carroll; B. J. Callihan; Cyndie Menard; Steve Triplett; Wade McAlister; Charley Strack; Travis Potter; Pat George; Donna Davis; Donna Allen; Mark Bruni; Carter Terry; Jamie Williams; Joe & Patti Davis; Vicki Henrichs; Judith Bruni; Clabert Menard; Darrell Crosby; Wayne Hinkley; Terry Thompson; Jimmy Melton; Jim Gravino; Margaret Himes; Nicki Davis; Paul Baukman. See ALL of you in 1999!