Published January 31, 2017
WASHINGTON – News that President Donald Trump had a portrait of Andrew Jackson installed in the Oval Office raised some eyebrows among American Indians and brings back unfavorable and horrible memories because of Jackson’s harsh actions towards American Indians while he served as the 7th president of the United States.
Among American Indians, Jackson is commonly referred to as the “removal president” and the “Indian-killer” because of he signed the Indian Removal Act that stole millions of acres of lands from tribes that led to forced removal from tribal ancestral lands to west of the Mississippi. The harsh removal campaign is commonly referred to as the Trail of Tears.
“His actions as president resulted in a genocide of Native Americans and the death of about a quarter of our people. It remains the darkest period in the Cherokee Nation’s history,” stated Cherokee Nation Chief Bill John Baker last year when it was announced Jackson will be taken off the $20 bill. “Jackson’s legacy was never one to be celebrated, and his image on our currency is a constant reminder of his crimes against Natives. It’s been an insult to our people and to our ancestors, thousands of whom died of starvation and exposure and now lie in unmarked graves along the Trail of Tears.”
In his own words, Jackson reveals what he thought of this country’s original people and his purposed genocidal thoughts:
“My original convictions upon this subject have been confirmed by the course of events for several years, and experience is every day adding to their strength. That those tribes cannot exist surrounded by our settlements and in continual contact with our citizens is certain. They have neither the intelligence, the industry, the moral habits, nor the desire of improvement which are essential to any favorable change in their condition. Established in the midst of another and a superior race, and without appreciating the causes of their inferiority or seeking to control them, they must necessarily yield to the force of circumstances and ere long disappear.”
From published reports, President Trump wants to emulate Jackson’s populist style he embraced while president. Therefore, he chose to have the Jackson’s picture adorn the Oval Office.
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This BBSNews article originally appeared on Native News Online.