Columns, Opinion

American Protest: The Trail of Tears was a joke to Donald Trump

President Donald Trump’s Twitter account is full of ridiculous tweets and hilarious typos. I personally do not even follow the account because anything worth noting from his Twitter will end up in the news, and the rest is utter nonsense that I prefer not to clutter up my feed with.

This weekend, though, he went beyond nonsense and instead added to the growing number of his incredibly offensive tweets. I was unaware that he could manage to go lower than the lows to which he has gone — but he has proved me wrong yet again.

In a tweet sent out by Trump on Saturday, the last part of the tweet directed at Senator Elizabeth Warren said, “See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz!”

He also mentions his nickname for her, Pocahontas, and asks if she will run as the first Native American presidential candidate. Many were quick to realize that the capitalization of “trail” was no accident, but instead a reference to the Trail of Tears.

For anyone who missed out on a very important U.S. history lesson in high school, the Trail of Tears was a massive forced relocation of Native Americans from the East Coast during the 1830s, initiated by President Andrew Jackson.

This tragedy forced the relocation of thousands of Native Americans. It was cold-blooded murder by those who stole land from the Native Americans and forced them to leave their homeland. Thousands died from disease, hunger, famine and warfare.

Apparently to Trump, this is something to joke about. We all know he is a raging racist based on past Native American jokes, but to make fun of genocide is something I did not expect. Maybe I should just lower my standards for Trump, though I did not know they could go any lower.

Trump has also tweeted jokes about the Wounded Knee Massacre, where U.S. troops slaughtered hundreds of Lakota people. Furthermore, the jokes about Pocahontas are extremely offensive considering she was brutally raped by white settlers.

Some say Trump is not smart enough to reference the Trail of Tears, and so his tweet means nothing. While that is nice to believe, it is ignorant to assume that Jackson’s biggest fan is unaware of the former president’s most infamous decision to relocate thousands of Native Americans — especially since Trump has brought up Wounded Knee, as well.

This does not mean I am defending Elizabeth Warren for claiming Cherokee heritage. Her decision to publicize that information was stupid, and just allowed for attacks on the Native American community by racist Trump supporters. But she is not the one joking about genocide.

Is it not enough that white colonizers brutally raped, murdered and stole land from the Native Americans of this country? What about the fact that we continue to build pipelines on their sacred grounds through the little land they have left in this country?

Must we further marginalize them through distasteful jokes about their murder in mass numbers carried out by a former president?

It makes me so unbelievably angry that Trump thinks this type of behavior is OK. This country was built on slavery and the murder of the Native Americans, and in the mind of Trump, that is something we can joke about now.

I am consistently disgusted with Trump and his racism, but this is one of the worst things he has said. At this point, impeachment could not come any quicker, before more harm comes to the remaining Native Americans trying to recover from centuries’ worth of murder.


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