The year was 1837. Sorrow still hung in the air, draping what was left of the Choctaw Nation with its heavy cloak, suffocating the few people left. Almost all of the people in the Indian nations had left for Oklahoma between 1830 and 1833, when the white mans congress had forced them out.
The ones who stayed soon found that their 'allotments' were worth no more than the white mans word. The Indians had been promised a farm and United States citizenship. Instead they had been given nothing. Their farms were never registered, and the white settlers soon moved in and took what they could find. The settlers won squatter’s rights in months. The land that had belonged to the Choctaw for generations was torn apart, plowed, and planted. Farmhouses sprung up on sacred burial grounds, the Choctaw nation had fallen.
Peggy Hamilton snorted, gazing angrily across the meadow at the tiny white house that sat on the hill. The pigs, she thought, they took it all. Their sweet talk of peace, harmony, and equality was all a front. They meant to have it all, by whatever means it took.
Peggy spat in the dirt as she walked, remembering the day her parents had left. Had it only been two years? Her family had stayed behind when their people had left. Her father had thought he could make it work on that pathetic piece of land the paleface called a farm. Then William Edwards had come. He was huge and nearly as black as a black man. He had moved into their home spewed official nonsense at them.
"Government sent me", he said. "Lookin out for you people", he said. Then he made himself at home, giving orders and changing their names. He wrote them all down in his little black book. THEIR NAMES! He did it like he was God himself, not that Peggy knew much about God except what Edwards had told her.
He gave them the name Hamilton after someone he knew and he named her Peggy because he said she was skinny like a peg. Disgusting bastard. Peggy hated him with every fiber of being. Her parents had left after two years but Edwards wouldn't let her go. He told her either she stayed with him or he would fix it so the white man would kill her family before they made it to the state line. She believed him.
Peggy was fourteen the day they left, her mother and sisters clinging to the tree at the end of the road, blankets over their heads. They wailed to the moon while her father stood by silently waiting for dawn, a defeated warrior. They had left, west for Oklahoma, following the trail of tears their tribe had take five years before, away from their homeland, away from this small section of Georgia.
Peggy had stayed, servicing that black bastard Edwards whenever the fancy took him. She never complained. She dressed white, talked white, and behaved like a white woman in bed. She did as she was told. But the anger lay deep within her, festering, and one day she would unleash it, and William Edwards was going to feel the fury of the full blooded Choctaw woman he thought he had buried.
He was sitting, hunched over his books when she came in, black braids swinging behind her. She had not put them in a bun today as she usually did. There were days when she refused to put her heritage behind her. Today was one of them. She ignored his grumbling and went straight to the kitchen at the back of the house. Sophia was there as always, her huge bulk bent over something cooking on the iron stove.
Peggy felt sorry for her. At least she, Peggy, was free to come and go, unlike Sophia, who would be hunted down by dogs if she so much as stepped beyond the yard. What must it be like to be a slave? Peggy didn't know, she only knew she would hate it more than the prison she was in now.
I wrote many more chapters to this but I can't find them. Maybe someday I will find them and finish the story.
K. Y. Hamilton, BA, MA - Copyright 2006