No Resting Place

My review of No Resting Place by William Humphrey is one that hits home with me.

I have always been proud of my heritage.  When you look at me I look "white" but I'm really not.  I'm actually Choctaw/Cherokee (with a little German and Irish mixed in).  I am not legally allowed to be considered Native American only because of a lack of documentation.  When I asked my grandparents why the documentation is not there the only reply was, "The Trail of Tears."

I have a relatively young family and the cool thing about that is that I got to know my great-grandparents pretty well.  My maternal grandfather's parents were raised on a reservation in Oklahoma and I remember sitting at my great-grandfather's knee, listening to him talk about the days on the reservation, and about his families journey on the Trail of Tears.  Even though I didn't understand it all my heart still broke with his stories.  How could people be so cruel?  How can one human treat another human with such contempt?

Sadly, as life tends to get in the way, I haven't done as much research as I should have on the Trail of Tears to understand what my ancestors went through.  All I knew was that they lost everything as they were forced from their land and many of them lost their identity which is why there is a gap in my lineage to prove that I am who I say I am.  I am Native American.

When I was asked to review No Resting Place I was pretty excited.  Like me, Mr. Humphrey's ancestors went through the Trail of Tears and with the story being passed down from generation to generation Mr. Humphrey was able to put pen to paper and tell the story that has been lost in our American history.

From the beginning I could tell that this book was going to be a challenge.  The author has a very unique writing style and one that I am not accustomed to reading.  I'll be honest, I almost gave up on this book but I wanted so bad to see what my ancestors saw and feel what they felt that I pressed on and I'm so glad that I did.

It is a hard story to read and another sad note in American history.  Much like the holocaust, Native Americans were forced off their land by the "white man" and moved first to concentration camps and then west.  Depending on the compassion of the officer that came knocking on your door, some families were able to take some of their belongings with them while others left with only the clothes on their back.

There are stories of people dying while on the trail and them not being able to bury them.  Women dying in childbirth only for the infant to die later.  Walking in a foot of snow with only rags to give them warmth and many losing all hope and wishing for death.

I cannot even begin to imagine what that trek must've been like.  Tears blur my vision as I think about my family having to endure all that.

I have read a few reviews of this book and it is not well received which doesn't surprise me.  This is a hard story to read but it is very well researched and gives you a truthful, yet painful picture of what occurred.

This book was originally published in 1989 but has been brought back to life by Open Road Media since the passing of the author and I am so thankful that it was.  I've already talked to my grandparents about pulling out my great-grandparents scrapbooks again so I can delve more into my families history.

If you are into Native American history or history in general I highly recommend it!  While painful to hear, it's a story everyone should know.

I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

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