Wagon wheels groaned as the caravan made its way down the muddy road. Misty rainy fell, the world wept as the Chickasaw left their home.
To the side of the road, two men hunkered under the branches of a pecan tree. Both dark skinned, one African, the other an Indian with an empty bottle of whiskey at his feet.
The African was the son of a minor village leader, his family sold into slavery to feed the ambitions of a rival tribe. His earliest memories were nightmares of the crossing.
To his master, the Indian, he was known as Mark. His real name was Kwesi, but he didn’t know this. He knew the word, but only as something his mother would whisper to him at night. The memory of her was now merely whisper to him as well.
The Indian began to snore. The African contemplated taking his master’s knife and…
No, he thought, the world was already rife with suffering. The Chickasaw were losing their home as he had lost his. He would choose a different path.
So, Kwesi called Mark took his master’s knife, along with his money and the good blanket, and strode out into the rain.
It may be strange to think about, but Indians owned slaves. And when the Indian tribes were forced to leave their ancestral homes by the guns of the US Army, their slaves went with them, died with them, on the Trail of Tears.