A billboard at the Nashville International Airport proclaims “Andrew Jackson: President. Hero. Rock star.” It’s the latest attempt by the Andrew Jackson Foundation to get tourists to make the trek to the Hermitage, Jackson’s historic home, reports the Tampa Bay Times.
But, Native Americans are opposing this campaign by the organization to raise the Indian-killer to the status of a “great president,” says Albert Bender, in a piece written for PeoplesWorld.org. He says Natives held a second demonstration at the Hermitage on January 17.
As Bender says, “Jackson is reviled by American Indians across the country.” Demonstrations began because the newly formed Andrew Jackson Foundation started lauding him as the “most important American president,” the “founder of American democracy,” the “People’s President” and “the most famous citizen Nashville ever produced.”
The Hermitage opened a new exhibit on January 8 called “Andrew Jackson: Born for a Storm,” noting that “we promise—he’ll change your ideas about America.” The $1.1 million interactive exhibit highlights three stages of Jackson’s life—his origins as an orphan, his resiliency as a General and his leadership as a president.
Natives have other ideas about Jackson’s time as a General and in office. He earned ICTMN’s top spot on our list of worst U.S. Presidents.
Jackson was a major proponent of Indian removal, his first effort was waging a war against the Creeks. The Creeks lost 23 million acres of land in Georgia and Alabama, paving the way for cotton plantation slavery. He would recommend that troops systematically kill women and children to complete the extermination of Indigenous Peoples.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.
This color print depicts “General Andrew Jackson: The Hero, The Sage and The Patriot.” Jackson’s genocidal side has often been overlooked throughout history.
In 1830, he signed the Indian Removal Act, which legalized ethnic cleansing. Within seven years 46,000 indigenous people were removed from their homelands east of the Mississippi. Their removal gave 25 million acres of land “to white settlement and to slavery,” according to PBS. The area was home to the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole nations. In the Trail of Tears alone, 4,000 Cherokee people died of cold, hunger, and disease on their way to the western lands.
Bender also mentions that the Hermitage praises Jackson for being “the first president to raise a Native American child,” which is shocking to Creeks today.
“The child referred to is Lincoya, a Creek child taken from a battlefield, from the body of his dead mother after Jackson’s army had killed all of his adult relatives,” Bender says in his piece. “Creek citizens are outraged beyond words that this is considered another reason to praise Jackson. Moreover, he did not raise Lincoya, the poor, captive child died at 16 after repeatedly trying to run away to rejoin his people.”
The below video was released in anticipation of the opening of the exhibit: