I think the thing I find most frustrating about this Finnelson piece is that I just know that there’s someone out there–some Cherokee scholar, some old Creek woman up on her centuries’ old gossip–who would look at Finnelson’s testimony and say “Oh, yeah, of course he changed his mind right here, because of x,y, and z.”
I just can’t find that person.
But I think that I am going to end the piece talking about that. How the people in Nashville looking just at Buchanan’s Station are having to make this ENORMOUS push to argue for the validity of preserving the cemetery. But if you read any book about Indian history in the old Southwest or about Spanish America along the Mississippi, the importance of the Battle of Buchanan’s Station is so huge and so obvious that it kind of goes without saying. No one argues for it. It’s just self-apparent.
There’s a disconnect between the place of the Battle of Buchanan’s Station in Nashville history (seemingly rather small) and the place of the Battle of Buchanan’s Station in the history of North America (huge, ungodly huge). The knowledge doesn’t seem to have moved from one realm into another.
And somewhere out there, there is a person–and I’m betting she or he is Cherokee or Creek–who would be able to tell why Finnelson changed his mind. The names of the people he was talking to, the order of the towns he went to, something would be so self-apparent to them that it would almost not be worth mentioning.
That’s the tidbit of knowledge I’d like.