Friday, February 10, 2012

'Stella's Destiny Part 3' By Lauren

This is the third edition of Stella's Destiny

Click on the following links to read Part 1 and Part 2

On May 23, 1836 President Jackson had signed a treaty declaring that the Cherokee Indians were to be removed from their homeland and into North Carolina. They were to have a grace period until May 1838 for the tribe to voluntarily remove themselves to Indian Territory. 

Once Stella heard about this new law, she immediately went back to her tribe, to comfort and to tell them of Walter's plan. 

Stella was greeted by Onacona (her husband) and told him her news. Onacona was at first doubtful of this plan, but seeing it was their only hope, he had no choice. He went to consult with the leaders of the tribe. 

There was many mixed feelings among the Cherokees. Some felt that they should take advantage of the two years they had to leave their home, and proceeded to do so at once. Stella tearfully said good bye to many of her beloved friends, knowing that she'd never see them again. Some Indian's felt that they should stay and fight for their homeland even if it meant death. But many embraced Walter's plan and Stella's solution.  

Stella went back to Aunt Rosa's farm once again, to help prepare. Walter figured out that they could fit one-hundred Indians at a time in the house and barn. And once a week his friend from Nashville agreed to take ten Cherokees at a time in his covered wagon to the outskirts of the city, where there was unsettled land that they could live off until the removal was over. The weakness of the plan was, there weren't many places to hide if the soldiers checked their house. But Walter saw that it was worth the risk. 

On the 21st of August The Cole family opened up their home for Cherokees. Walter would arrange the journeys to and from Nashville, and the order of who would go in what wagon. And Louise was in charge of cooking and cleaning. Stella helped wherever she could. 

On the 3rd of October the first wagon appeared. Walter arranged that families should travel together, and pregnant mothers or mothers with young babies should go first. However Stella claimed that she would be that last Indian to leave, even with a three-year-old daughter, Adsila. 

Stella had other concerns of her own, she was three month's pregnant. How would she be able to cope with a pregnancy, as well as all the other pressure she was facing. And how would she take care of a newborn?

Everything went along smoothly. Walter's biggest concern however, was the official removal day, when the Indians would be forced to leave. Would the soldiers check their house? The day kept drawing nearer, it hung around the air as if it were an execution day. Walter decided that it was too risky hoping that no-one would check the house, so he dug five large cellars with the help of several other men. Walter figured out that twenty people could fit in one cellar, so the cellars should fit everyone. 

KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK! came the dreadful sound on a cold and gloomy day in May 1838. Every Indian woman, man and child hid in Walter five cellars. But even though they hid in cellars, that unwelcome sound of army personnel at the door, made even the bravest men hold their breath. 

Walter walked up to the door. Louise ran around the house to make sure there was no evidence of one-hundred people living in it. 

"We have permission from the Government to investigate your house Sir. Just to check that no Indians have decided to hide out here. You live very close to their tribe." Said the closest man to Walter at the door. 

As the soldiers investigated the rooms and the barn, little Adsila sensed that something was wrong and got nervous. 

"Mamma, please can we get out?" 
"Not now, we're playing a game, like hide-and-seek, but you have to be very, very quiet"
"Where's Dadda?"
"I'm here, but you be quiet." replied Onacona 

The three-year-old must have heard the tension in his usually calm voice, and started to cry.

"shh" whispered Stella in desperation, "Be quiet do you hear!"

"I WANT OUT" Wailed Adsila.

Stella heard muffled voices from above her, and none of them were Walter's or Louise's. The cellar door opened up and came the most horrible sight they could imagine. Six armed soldiers were suddenly in the cellar forcing everyone out. 

One of the men roughly grabbed Stella's arm, and pushed her out of the cellar door. 

"What are you doing here, go back to your own home, and stay out of this business" Shouted the solider, "Wait a minute, is that Ingin' girl your kin?"

"Yes, she's my daughter, and this is my husband (pointing to Onacona), I am an Indian." Stella bravely replied.   

Twenty of the Cherokees hiding in that cellar were forced out and into the wagons waiting outside. None of the other cellars were found. 

"Stella!" moaned Louise
"How can you! Can't you see she is with child?" Cried Walter his voice chocked with emotion.

Stella ran free from the soldiers, and hugged her brother and sister for the last time. 

"Thank you so much, you have saved many of my family, please take care of them." She whispered.

"Oy, git back in line miss!" yelled a solider.

"I love you!" Stella cried out as she was hustled into a wagon.

Although one of the cellars was found, the Cole family saved many of the Cherokees. Over two-hundred men, women and children were saved from this fate. Walter took good care of the remaining Indians and a few years later they returned to their home, hiding, so they were never found. 

As Stella said, she travelled the Trail Of Tears and comforted and helped her 'family' where she could. On that terrible day 16,542 Cherokees and 201 inter-married whites travelled that horrific journey. They were all loaded like cattle into six hundred and forty-five wagons.
Helpless Cherokees were arrested and dragged from their homes. Children were often separated from their parents, and in the chill of drizzling rainThey encountered a terrific sleet and snow storm with freezing temperatures. The sufferings were awful, they slept on the ground without a fire. And several of the Cherokees were murdered by the locals passing through towns. When the journey ended in March 1839, there were four-thousand silent graves.

All of this was to satisfy white man's greed, and a prejudism towards a different colour skin and a different cuture.   

Stella indeed had an unusual and inspiring destiny. If she had have been an ordinary girl for those times, she would have married a white man, and raised a family, and probably had a relatively easy life. But Stella was destined to help the unloved and unwanted of America, even to the extent of proudly becoming a Indian. Her mission was as noble as they come. 


Big Sister said...

Great story Lauren! I love it. :)

I love the end sentence- "her mission was as noble as they come." :D

Keep up your wonderful writing!

Jemimah said...

I love that story Lauren, your a very talented writer.

Holly said...

Love this third part, Lauren! A great finish (?) to 'Stella's Destiny'!