In 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act. Getting rid of the Indians had long been on his agenda. As an Army General, he had brutally forced Indians off their land because white men wanted it. As president, he continued that agenda even in defiance of a Supreme Court ruling. He didn’t care about the law. Sound familiar? Starting in 1830, tens of thousands of Indians were forced to leave their homelands and walk thousands of miles, often shackled, without food or water, to federal land across the Mississippi River. It was a deadly journey that would come to be known as The Trail of Tears.

This is the president who Donald Trump has chosen to honor in the Oval Office by placing his portrait there. This is the president he relates to. And under Andrew Jackson’s steely gaze, with history an eternally raw wound, elderly Code-Talkers, who risked their lives in several wars to help America — the country that had brutalized them — Donald Trump pretended to honor them. It was as dishonest as white politicians in the 1800s making “treaties” with the Indians, which they never intended to keep.

I know a little bit about how the White House works, and when there is a ceremonial event like the one to honor the Code-Talkers, an advance team decides which room it will be held in, and what will be in the background of the photos. Nothing is accidental. So, people at the White House chose to put these heroic Native Americans in front of Andrew Jackson’s portrait.

Of course, Mr. Trump couldn’t leave it at that. He then had to throw in his favorite name for Elizabeth Warren — Pocahontas. And yes, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, it is a racial slur. Just ask any Native American. As galling as his comment was, sadly, it’s not surprising anymore. I think the deeper, more resonant insult was placing these brave men beneath the portrait of Andrew Jackson. That one gesture, that one deliberate decision, mocked them and let them know with absolute certainty, that this president cares nothing for them and delights in humiliating them.

Like many others, I’m exhausted from my constant outrage over this man’s actions. It apparently wasn’t enough to insult Native Americans, he moved on to Muslims today…again. He re-tweeted violent and questionable anti-Muslim videos that were first posted by an extreme right-wing group.

We have in the Oval Office, an increasingly unhinged person who delights in insulting others and trying to pick fights. And while it’s true that we are not being marched along rough terrain, shackled and starving like the Indians in the 1800s, this is our Trail of Tears. And at the moment, I don’t see an end to it.


  1. michelle lanthier says:

    Your final paragraph reflected how many Americans feel. Poignant and important piece. But no one will care to get off the tweet highway and enjoy time on a meandering road. I for one have enjoyed my brief moment at your Inn. Thank you.

  2. Rodney Wilson says:

    Authoritarians rely on a disengaged public. I try, therefore, to stay engaged, as difficult as that is. Thank you for keeping your eyes open, too, and for writing about what you see.

  3. jeff arch says:

    right on the money. i knew, when this insult to humanity first emerged in the 70’s, and by the way he was covered, that he represented the worst in all of us. he is the only person i’ve ever known of who had never – ever – experienced a single consequence for his actions.

  4. David Marks says:

    Patti, I feel as you do; I could sit here and mourn for America and those who have suffered along our journey into nationhood. I could scream into the computer with epithets and adjectives meant for the streets, but more and more of us are finding it impossible to qualify the most dangerously reckless president since, well, since Andrew Jackson. You’ve put history into poetic perspective, while making it clear that we can do little now, except allow the course of this Trmpian society to come to an end. Like all those who have have failed us, in varying degrees before Trump, they do leave us, but they scar us, often for generations to come, and I’m afraid the greatest lesson Trump has taught us, is that we have not evolved as much as we had once believed. Beautiful job of it, Patti.

  5. gigi shapiro says:

    Thank you again Patti for always saying what I believe. Your prose are written with the clarity and profound words that we can all understand and wish that we could express as succinctly as you do David Marks summed up how I feel as well.. xxx Gigi

  6. Melanie Howard says:

    The Trump White House has mastered doublespeak. I have no doubt scheduling that ceremony in front of Jackson’s portrait was so it could be used for two things: to allow apologists to claim he respects Native Americans and at the same time to dog whistle racists. I don’t think Trump himself is clever enough for this, but someone is. It seems like such a Bannon idea – I wonder who came up with it? Good analysis on your part.

  7. Eric Little says:

    Thanks again Patti, for speaking the truth in a time when truth-telling has come under attack. I just wish the adults in the room of this administration would stand up and say “enough”!

  8. mikel miller says:

    Thanks again, Patti, for your continuing insights.

  9. charles j. butler says:

    i can’t even bear to watch the news anymore,this is all so wrong. i thank you for your words on this.

  10. Ken W. Brown says:

    Like you, i am exhausted and emotionally distraught daily. I hope each night that next day wI’ll be different but alas it only gets worse.

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