The Point: "The Poor Indian"
From The Western Literary Casket, July 1843. By M. A. T.
It should be humiliating to the mind of every American, to reflect upon the inhuman treatment with which the Red man has met at our hands. Here, dwelling in peace; in possession of the soil--free as the winds that played around the mountain heights, unknown to toil and anxiety--eager for the hunt, his heart beating high with rapture as he poured forth his oration before the council-fire, in strains of native eloquence and simplicity;--thus situated was he met by his white brother, who demanded a surrender of the soil, and that he should leave the home of his fathers, the land of his nativity, and every fond association of the past, and be driven to the wilderness of the west. How was such an invasion upon the rights of man, calculated to arouse every unholy passion, and awaken the fire of revenge. With a tiger's ferocity he repels the assault, and scenes of blood, and wo, ensued. The War-god went howling over the wilderness and through the forests, and thousands fell beneath his bloody battle-axe. But the white man conquered and the son of the forest departed with direful imprecations on his lips--
"The Indian's curse," said he, "be on
The home of the marauder--
My last abiding malison,
Rest heavy on their border."
And he has been driven from forest to forest, and from shore to shore,
till he soon shall "not have where to lay his head." Poor Indian! I mourn
thy fate. Often when I see the sun sinking in his burning and everlasting
brightness behind the hills of the west, I think that thy sun,
too, is about setting in the western waters, to rise no more, except in
the spirit-land! But this nation has yet to answer for the oppression she
has meted out to thee. Retribution will yet let loose red lightnings.
Though the hour may be long delayed, yet come it must, unless by speedy
repentance and living a new life it may be averted. "Wisdom is better than
weapons of war," and may we seek it sincerely, earnestly.
New Brighton [Beaver County], Pa.