Date: Sun, 16 Jul 1995 21:21:36 -0700
Sender: "NATIVE-L Aboriginal Peoples: news & information" <NATIVE-L@TAMVM1.TAMU.EDU>
Subject: Funeral-156 yrs after Death
Original Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org (Pat L Talley)
I attended a very moving ceremony today which I would like to share. This relates to Texas history and Cherokee history.
July 16, 1836 is the date of the last battle fought between the Texas Cavalry and Cherokees in Texas. Members of the twelve associated tribes had been promised 1.5 million acres for their home by Texas President Sam Houston. But the succeeding President, Mirabeau Lamar, was reclaiming this land. Chief Diwali Bowles put the question to the associated tribes shariang this land, The Shawnee, Delaware, Kickapoo, Quapaw, Choctaw, Biloxi, Ioni, Alabama, Choushatt, Caddo, Tahocullake, and Mataquo. Would they stand together in an effort to hold on to this land? The decision was made to fight.
The battle began on July 15. On July 16 Chief Bowles signaled retreat, few were left to flee. Chief Bowles was shot in the leg and his horse was wounded. The Chief climbed down from his horse and started to walk from the battle field. He was shot in the back. The 83 year old chief sat down, crossing his arms and legs facing the company of militia. The captain of the militia walked to where the Chief sat, placed a pistol to his head and killed him. Cavalry members took stripes of skin from his arms as souvenirs. His body was left where it lay. No burial ever took place.
This battle marked the single largest massacre in East Texas with 800 men, women, and children of the associated tribes killed.
A marker stands at the site of the battlegrounds. But no funeral service has ever been held for Chief Bowles. Today descendents of those tribes and their friends met to honor Chief Bowles with a funeral service. And to remember the others whose lives were also lost in this battle.
The American Indian Heritage Center of Texas has made it their goal to purchase 70 acres of the 1.5 million acres which were promised to these tribes. The battleground site where the memorial stands is among these 70 acres.
For those interested in more information on this project contact:
American Indian Heritage Center of Texas
1450 Preston Forest Square
Dallas, TX 75230
Executive Director Ms. Ruth Smith