Independence Is Here

Independence is declared in the colonies!

Document of Freedom or Not?

Yesterday, July 4, 1776, our delegates meeting at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia unanimously signed a declaration announcing that the thirteen American colonies are independent and free from Great Britain. This Declaration of Independence "Absolved" our "Allegiance to the British Crown" and declared, "That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States."

What we don't know and must ask is what the Declaration of Independence means for us? Some will tell you that we are now finally free from King and Crown while others believe, no matter what, we will always be "slaves of Great Britain."

I say it means neither. The Declaration of Independence doesn't automatically make us free. It also doesn't mean we are forever in the hands of Great Britain. Instead, we have declared our belief that we are free from the King's rule and we finally have a chance to escape the power of Great Britain's grasp. It is now our job to fight the British army and earn this freedom. It will be hard and we will lose some battles but winning a country of our own and our freedom is worth it. We should also remember that if we fail, the King will be even worse to us and all those who have signed the Declaration of Independence are bound to be executed by the savagery of the red coats.

What will the country do with its freedom? Many elaborate on the thought of expanding westward or modernizing our major cities. Although I believe that we will become modern in our ways and expand West to conquer the unforgivable lands, the choice on what we do as a country will finally be ours.

As for the timid folk and the loyalist, I suspect that they will run for the mountains or sail into the desolate ocean.

Chief Skiajagustah of the Cherokee people.

What do you mean by "man"? The Declaration of Independence says, "that all men are created equal" but it doesn't tell us what the delegates meant by "man." Did they mean "man" as only white men with a high status in society? This may be true since it correctly describes all the delegates. There wasn't one women, Indian or poor delegate at the Continental Congress.

If "man" only means rich white men, the delegates were foolish and should have done a better job writing the Declaration of Independence. The delegates should have just said, "That all affluent white men are created equal, they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." I think the delegates were smarter than this though because it would have been discrimination and they couldn't be that obvious about it.

For this document to mean anything, it must cover everyone from every race including women, slaves and Indians. As Chief of the Cherokee, I say "Though you are white and we are red, our hearts and hands are joined together. We shall die in this way of thinking. We shall tell our people what we have seen; our children, from generation to generation, will remember it. In war we shall be one with you. Your enemies shall be ours. Your people and ours shall be one, and shall live together. Your white people may build their houses beside us. shall not do them hurt, for we are children of one father."

As for my people, the Cherokee will not vote for or accept the Declaration of Independence until it is changed in favor of all men and women.

Indian Chief Skiajagustah

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