The Norman Transcript

Breaking News

Opinion

November 9, 2013

An embarrassing and insensitive slip

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

During this Halloween “season,” I saw advertisements for the Trail of Fear, a haunted house created to horrify people for fun and entertainment.

I'm sure the people who walked this “trail” screamed with fear but also delight; it was supposedly innocent fun; no one gets hurt, no one suffers in any way. The problem is that this “trail” gets its name from the Trail of Tears, the tragic removal, beginning in 1831, of the Choctaw, Seminole, Cherokee, Muskogee, and Chickasaw people from their homelands in Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama to Indian Territory in what later became Oklahoma.

The suffering on this trail was truly horrific: many many people died from starvation, exposure, and disease, including 2,000 to 6,000 of 16,542 relocated Cherokee. Blithely choosing the name Trail of Fear for something that horrifies people for fun is like naming an amusement park ride after the Oklahoma City bombing.

The name Trail of Fear is appalling in its lack of awareness of history and its insensitivity.

I am white, and tribal people do not need me to speak for them. This letter comes out of my own embarrassment and shame.

I can only try to imagine (unsuccessfully) how tribal people must feel to be reminded not only of this horrific event in their history but also that Oklahomans are often woefully uninformed about the less honorable parts of the state's history and about the continued oppression of tribal people and their struggles to survive and flourish in spite of that oppression.

Another good example (so many to choose from) of this willful ignorance is the artwork depicting the Land Run that will decorate the new overpass at Main and I-35.

This very public piece of art will celebrate white people's theft of land that was set aside for the tribal people who had been removed to Oklahoma. But that's another letter, and I hope someone will write it.

KAMI DAY

Norman

Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Dancing forward

    The official motto for Mike Fowler’s chairmanship of the Norman Chamber of Commerce is “Moving Norman Forward.” But after Thursday night’s annual banquet, the sub-theme should be, “Let’s Dance, Norman.” More than 500 chamber members and ...

    April 19, 2014

  • NRA members need to step up

    Please, Mr. Bloomberg, leave the checkbook open, but step away from the podium. Your efforts to curb gun violence and improve safety are notable. The National Rifle Association thanks you....

    April 19, 2014

  • Local control or not?

    Oklahoma lawmakers are a fickle bunch when it comes to issues of local control. Sometimes they want it and other times they do not....

    April 19, 2014

  • Norman should act wisely

    Editor, The Transcript: The fact that the city of Norman sells water for oil/gas drilling (or any other purpose) for less than half what they pay Oklahoma City when buying water, and while Norman residents are on rationing, is an act of ...

    April 18, 2014

  • There’s no need to fix system that’s working

    Lawmaker attempts to alter the way judges are selected are being challenged by the state’s lawyers. More than 1,800 signatures on a state bar association petition urging a “no” vote on Senate Joint Resolution 21 have been gathered in just ...

    April 18, 2014

  • On the side of openness

    Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has been criticized for failing to release emails and other information sought by press outlets who believe it was covered under the state’s Open Records Act. Now, Fallin is coming down on the side of keeping the ...

    April 18, 2014

  • A raise for troopers, but what about others?

    Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers could see an increase in their paychecks during the state’s next fiscal year, which begins in July....

    April 17, 2014

  • Fallin should help residents

    Editor, The Transcript: I see this week that our empty skirt of a governor asked the federal government (small business administration) for much money. She is concerned about the suffering of the business owners in Lexington and Purcell ...

    April 17, 2014

  • Top honors for NPS

    Top honors keep rolling in for both of Norman’s high schools. The district learned this past week that Norman High School and Norman North High School have been recognized as two of the most rigorous high schools in the country and in the ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Wind power bursting

    There are a few wind generators dotting the Norman skyline, but western and northwestern Oklahoma makes up for the deficit here. An industry group this week said Oklahoma ranks fourth nationally in the amount of wind-generated ...

    April 16, 2014