Featured Post

Click Here for Reviews of "The Tunnels"

Monday, October 13, 2014

For Columbus Day: If it Be Your Will

One of my true heroes--and funniest and keenest political comedian ever--is Will Rogers, born in Oklahoma and proud of his strong Cherokee heritage (on both sides of his family).   I have visited Will's ranch in Santa Monica, and interviewed one of his sons.  Will plays a key role in my book on Upton Sinclair's 1934 campaign.  So, for Columbus Day, here's his comment on the Pilgrims, who landed a few years later:

“I love being down here in pilgrim country. I bet you when the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock and they had the whole of the American continent to themselves, and all they had to do to get another 160 acres was to kill another Indian, you know, well, I bet they kicked at the cost of ammunition. Now, I hope my Cherokee blood is not making me prejudiced, but it was only the generosity of the Indians that allowed the pilgrims to land in the first place. Suppose it was the other way around.

"Yeah, my ancestors didn’t come over on the Mayflower. They met the boat.”  More from Will:
They sent the Indians to Oklahoma.  They had a treaty that said, ‘you shall have this land as long as grass grows and water flows.’ It was not only a good rhyme but looked like a good treaty, and it was until they struck oil. Then the government took it away from us again. They said the treaty refers to ‘water and grass; it don’t say anything about oil.’ So the Indians lost another bet – the first one to Andrew Jackson, and the second to the oil companies.
 Much more on Will as one of great American political commentators.

No comments: