Black Creek: The Taking of Florida
Many novels have been written about the resettling of the Native American population onto reservations. Paul Varnes tells the story, based upon the lives of his ancestors, of how the American government forced various tribes from Georgia through Florida to relocate west of the Mississippi after 1820. Several Seminole Wars were fought to accomplish this task. Black Creek follows a family who moved from Georgia into northern Florida after its purchase from Spain. Although Isaac Jr. and his father trade with the native population and befriend several local tribes, they must take sides and fight for the American government to defeat those tribes who refuse to leave.
Looking back, it is hard to understand why the white settlers, and the U.S. government in particular, could treat a race of people in such a cold-hearted way. This was definitely a low point in American history.
The story is told from the viewpoint of the young son, Isaac Jr. The book is well-written from a historical perspective, but I found the characters uninteresting. In the beginning the author uses speech and colloquialisms appropriate to the 1820s, but as the book progresses, the main character speaks more as a 20th-century writer would talk. If your interests in American history revolve around the struggles of the Native Americans, you may be disappointed, because you will get the impression that relocating the Indians was a great idea: it solved the settlers’ problems of new land to own, and provided the promise of a new start for the Indians. This could have been a better novel if the author had shown more compassion for the Indian tribes.