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The most happiness I find on the trip is when we’re in the car and I can blare the Chuck Berry tape I brought. We drive the trail where thousands died, and I listen to the music and think what are we supposed to do with the grisly past? I feel a righteous anger and bitterness about every historical fact of what the American nation did to the Cherokee. But, at the same time, I’m an entirely American creature. I’m in love with this song and the country that gave birth to it.
[MUSIC PLAYING - “BACK IN THE USA” BY CHUCK BERRY]
Listening to “Back in the USA” while driving the Trail of Tears, I turn it over and over in my head. It’s a good country. It’s a bad country. Good country, bad country. And, of course, it’s both. When I think about my relationship with America, I feel like a battered wife. Yeah, he knocks me around a lot, but boy he sure can dance."