My name is Eugene Lichungu. A second name which is very unique as compared to my other major names and also nick names. Lichungu means a rat. But into a deeper meaning, it evaluates and individual's intelligence skill. My other names are Musisi, of which I was named that after my late grandfather, who passed on while fighting for the country's freedom. My nick name is Omotoyosi which means a skilled and talented person. We come from a very peaceful and hospitable tribe, the Cherokee tribe. We believe in our most high God for every thing. Our tribe has many other small sub tribes and these are the ones which form the Chota clan. Thus we came from Chota. Our family on the other hand has five members; I have a brother and three sisters. We never had the chance to see our parents and our grandparents. Our parents passed on immediately giving birth to me, being the last born. We are farmers, hunters and gatherers. That is our main occupation but it is classified according to gender. The women took part in farming while the men concentrated much on hunting. Our tribe was among the first tribes to be formed in the United States.
It was in the year 1684 that my people agreed to sign a treaty with the people of South Carolina. This treaty was based on the way of living of the people. For instance, it was to ensure that the people share the land equally and also that trade was facilitated. Thus due to the hospitable nature we posses, my people felt that there was no need to worry about the land we were to loose to the white men. Since trade had began evolving, it was then in the years 1790 and 1827 that the white men began their mining activities in search of the valuable minerals and metals such as the gold and this caused more men to join the area thus increasing the population.
The year 1830 was a year which had much impact on to us; it was indeed a year never to forget. This was when the Indian removal act was passed by President Jackson who was the leader of the white people. This man was very hostile and inhuman. He wanted to displace us from our rich land. Despite the fact that we were hospitable in nature, we had to fight so as to defend our rights and the rights to own our land. Unfortunately this was in vain because as much as we fought and even forwarded our case to the Supreme Court; neither of the two bore fruits. Luckily, in the year 1832, the removal act was abolished and that we would have to agree on something before being removed from our own land. This was much understandable. This was to be done in form of a treaty.
It was in the fiscal year 1835 that the treaty was signed between the two parties; President Jackson and us. The treaty was known as the new Echota and it gave the president the permission to seal our people's fate. Once the treaty was signed, it became effective, and we were herded by the Americans, just like their own slaves. We were subjected to long distance journeys. Most of which were on foot. We were forced to walk from our homes to Arkansas Oklahoma borders of the United States of America. We endured a lot in this long, endless and tiresome journey. We walked with no food to eat, no water to quench our thirst and also no clothing. We were under the strict monitor of these ruthless and heartless white men. At most cases we were forced to walk in the alternate changes in temperature; at times in winter and in summer and with this most of our children who could not persevere these died. Up to date, the route in which we traveled by is known as, "the trail of tears" because of the many lives that were lost.
Today some of our people still live in the Arkansas because this is where the long trail ended. The others who were lucky enough were left in the Appalachian Mountains, the place where we came from. There are many tribes in the United States today. Our tribe is seen as the second largest Native American among the others. Some of us perform the activities that our ancestors used to do. For instance; basket weaving, cooking among other activities. We have adjusted to the normal way of living. We are able to do businesses so as to survive with the little that we earn. I must admit that am proud of my tribe, the Cherokee tribe.