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OPVL Due 9-26-11 Mr.

Berndt, Period 5 John G Burnett OPVL Origin: This document was produced by a man named John G. Burnett, on December 11, 1890. It was written as a birthday story to people known to us only as children. It tells the story of his life as a private in the United States military, during the Indian removal. Before that, he spent many months hunting on Indian lands, and became a great friend to the Cherokee people, going so far as to learn their language. This obviously made it a little bit uncomfortable when he was called upon to forcefully remove the very same people from their ancestral homes, and onto a new reservation. This seems to have been written as a private document, only to the children as a birthday story. Purpose: The purpose of this document was to tell the true story of what happened during the indian removal. Although it is remembered little in the minds of many Americans, the Indian removal did happen, and to those who knew about it, the soldiers are portrayed as the enemies, brutally driving the peaceful tribes from their homelands. This may be true in some cases, but according to this document, this particular soldier did whatever he could to keep the Indians as comfortable as possible. He also wanted to share how the government had no sympathy for the American Indian Movement at the time. The chief sent a man by the name of Junaluska to plead with president Andrew Jackson. Junaluska had personally saved Jackson's life by killing a warrior about to split the future president's head open, but he waas still rejected outright, and the Indians forced to move. Value: This document is valuable in the sense that is shows that some of the soldiers were good to the Indians. In history books, the white man is seen as selfish, vicious, and pure mean, but this account shows that many of the soldiers who did the removal were simply carrying out their duties. Some of them had no personal hatred towards the Indians, but were being payed by the government, and when the Man says Jump, you say How high? The other piece of value in this piece is to show the popular sentiment against the Native American people. For a president to snub the man who saved his life, shows a deeply set hatred, and discourse more poisonous tat what is now being used against illegal immigrants. Imagine the scandal that would have resulted if an illegal alien fighting with Obama had saved his life, then later asked for fair treatment for his people, and Obama curtly refused? That couldn't happen in this day and age, and more people should know about it happening back then. Limitations: This document provides a good glimpse inside of the head of one of the soldiers, but we need to be careful to understand that this man is only one soldier. He cannot give us a very accurate read on the larger political climate, or the pressures being put on Andrew Jackson, or his military commanders. His job is to follow orders, and he knows very little more than what those orders are. The main other limitation of this document is the fact that it was written by someone who describes himself as very close to the Cherokee people. This could, and probably did color his opinions, and make him more sympathetic to the Indians. There may have been other factors that he chose not to see, or simply didn't report because they made his friends look bad, and by association, himself..