"The Trail of Tears", part 2: American Indians liberated Dachau
The Trail of Tears, part 4: Birds of a feather

The Trail of Tears, part 3: The Cherokees, a lost tribe of Israel?

The more Tsa La Gi and I corresponded, the more we felt a mutual bond that seemed to be centuries old. Tsa La Gi fits perfectly the criteria that the Mishna prescribes for recognizing a descendant of Israel - he is modest, generous, and compassionate.

Tsa La Gi writes: "I had "Christianity" forced on me as a kid growing up, but I never made the connection with it. It wasn't voluntary. It was a prerequisite to anything in the small area I came from. I read the Bible, and watched what the church people did and said, and saw a lot of things that conflicted. So much so, in fact, that I decided really quick when I was young that most of them were hypocrites who talked one way in church and acted a very different way on every other day of the week."

Yet, as a child in the hills of Oklahoma, not having met a single Jew, Tsa La Gi felt a deep and personal kinship with the people of Israel in the Bible. "Whenever I read the Bible," he reminisces, "I felt like I was reading about my people, not some foreign civilization that were a part of ancient history. I treasured the stories of King David, the Wisdom of Solomon, and the Psalms. I identified with the suffering of the people of Israel as they endured slavery and escaped from bondage. Moerover, I have a keen sense of history, and learned that various components of the Christian Church had acted atrociously over the years towards outsiders, like the Jews and American Indians." The last phrase hit me like a sledgehammer. Could there really be a connection between the Indian Act of 1830 in the USA and the Disengagement Act 0f 2005 in Israel? Were both tragedies engineered by fundamentalist Christians? (See tomorrow's post, G-d willing, part 4 of The Trail of Tears for more on this subject).

Tsa La Gi is a master strategist. He specialized in anti-terrorist combat and law enforcement. He was one of the officers instrumental in nailing the Oklahoma Bomber of 1995, American neo-Nazi Timothy McVeigh. Later, Tsa La Gi became an Oklahoma State Magistrate. Uncanny, I thought to myself; Tsa La Gi and I became friendly out of his concern for the welfare of real Israel (not the ersatz poor-man's variety that's knocking its brains out to disengage from Hashem and the Torah, heaven forbid). Later, I discover that Tsa La Gi's great uncle and his Cherokee brothers in arms liberated Dachau (see Trail of Tears, part 2), and now I find out that my Cherokee comrade was the the officer that nabbed a neo-Nazi mega murderer. Coincidence? Believers don't believe in coincidence. The Gemorra says that Hashem gives mitzvas in the hands of the deserving. Apparently, the Cherokees in general - and Tsa La Gi in particular - have a special quality that qualify them as deserving.

I looked for a drop of information that connects the Indians of North America to the lost tribes of Israel, exiled and dispersed by Sannherib and the Assyrians in 772 BCE, and encountered a flood of evidence indicating that the Indians, particularly the Cherokees, are certainly one of the lost tribes of Israel - some say Dan, others say Zevulun.

Sitting_bull High cheek bones? Jewish nose? Braided and untouched payis? Fringes on his shirt? Was Sitting Bull really a descendant of Israel? Many say yes.

18th Century explorer, trader, and researcher, James Adair from London, author of History of the American Indians who spent 40 years among the Cherokees, wrote a book named Out of the Flame, listing 23 hard proofs why he believed the Cherokees were descended from Israel. Among other things, the Cherokees were fiercely monotheistic who observed the Ten Commandments to the letter. Harvard professor Barry Fell cites an ancient carving of the Ten Commandments in North America as further proof, another subscriber to the lost tribe theory. Rabbi Marvin Tokayer, former USAF Chaplain and prominent Jewish historian, also holds that the Indians of the Americas are descendants of Northern Israel's seafaring tribes, Dan and Zevulun. The additional list is long and exhaustive.

Even so, I wasn't really convinced until I started learning some Cherokee language. Examine the following table (with thanks to the Cherokees of powersource.com in California for their help):

English

Cherokee

Hebrew

camel

Ge'mili

gamal

dog

Qi'li

qelev

egg

We'tsi

betsa

mosquito

To'si

yetosh

turtle

Du'si

tsav

The Lord

Adon'vido

adonoi

tree

atsina

etz

As you can see, the phonetic similarities are astounding.

Why did America persecute the Indians? What does the common background and common suffering of the Cherokees and the Jews teach us about the future? How does Tsa La Gi envision the future moves of the American government? What does all this have to do with the imminent coming of Moshiach? G-d willing, we'll find out tomorrow, in Part 4 of The Trail of Tears.