Di da ti ne hi – Leader in Cherokee. On September 28, 1836, Chief John Ross knew it was a lost cause for the Cherokee people to stay in the homeland of Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. In addressing the Red Clay Council Ground, Cherokee Nation these were his words “… We are stripped of every attribute of freedom and eligibility for legal self-defense. Our property may be plundered before our eyes; violence may be committed on our persons; even our lives may be taken away, and there is none to regard our complaints. We are denationalized; we are disfranchised. We are deprived of membership in the human family! We have neither land nor home, nor resting place that can be called our own…..”
Having reconciled to the fact that the Cherokee were being forced to move to land far from their home on a journey that would become known as “The Trail of Tears”, he concluded –“On your kindness, on your humanity, on your compassion, on your benevolence, we rest our hopes. To you we address our reiterated prayers. Spare our people!..” still pleading with Congress not to allow our Cherokee people to be displaced.
The mark of a great leader is to prepare those you are leading by telling the truth, searching for a solution for the benefit of those you serve not personal gain, using talents and intelligence to fight for justice; when there is no justice to lead people with the strength of your heart. When the cause seems hopeless then inspire and motivate rather than intimidate and manipulate.
Does the story of this great leader sound familiar? Chief John Ross had a great example to follow, Our Leader, Our Creator. For when He was treated with injustice He said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing…” He led with His heart when He said, “I am going to prepare a place for you that where I am you may be also.”
May we be the reflection of the character of a great leader and speak out boldly against injustice; not with just a whisper for fear of being accused, to serve all humanity in all we do, not just when it is convenient - as we are on the path following in His footsteps. May the Sacred Fire of His love continue to burn.
A da do li gi,