Posted on February 15, 2019
by Steve Janowick

I know the place well where the man came to play

All dressed in red his intentions to stay

I watched as his ships came to the shore

Then I sharpened my spear and prepared for a war

He came at us hard showing off his skills

But he underestimated our hearts and our wills

He said pray to our God and speak our tongue

But we danced around his dead while beating our drum

The original homeland defense

We protect our own at any expense

And history fails to portray

The heart and soul of the Cherokee way

Centuries before your imperial quest

We lived in peace-our hearts at rest

So, let it be known, invader of my land

I’ll fight to the death or ‘till your scalp’s in my hand

History fails to show

The repercussions of the seeds we sow

And history fails to portray

The grit and the guts of the Cherokee way


I recently came across this little ditty penned in 1984 by an insufferable, hormone-raging, pissed-off 10th grader.  Always the outsider feeling misunderstood and disrespected, I could really relate, back then, to the plight of the underdog.  The victim. The American Indian.

I wasn’t that well versed in our history as a teenager.  But I read a few books and saw a few movies and had a sneaky suspicion that what they were spoon-feeding me was utter bullshit.  Native Americans (always played by corny white actors) were usually depicted as brutal savages. Barely human. Only interested in raping and scalping.

But I was no dummy.  And my ambivalence led me to seek out a more objective truth.  Thankfully, Funk and Wagnalls was there to provide it. Yes, my encyclopedia set, the internet of the 80’s, told me a much different tale.  And I realized as I grew older (and wiser) that the indigenous man was no better or worse than I was-with the same feelings, concerns and red blood.  Some good in him and some bad in him. He was simply a man-no more or no less.

But there are two facts that are indisputable with zero ambiguities…

He was here first…and I was uninvited.

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