The Lamanites-“We Too Are Israel”

The story of the Lamanites does not end with the battle of Cumorah, for they continued to war amongst themselves for power and dominion for centuries, with no end of their wars in sight. Although there was great suffering on both sides, it was the white man who finally brought an end to their wilder ways and began the process of civilizing them again. Little did the Gentiles know that at one time the Indians had been as pure and delightsome as they were.

Sadly, as more and more whites arrived in America, things were set in motion to deprive the Indians of their land, thinking them to be a threat to the more civilized settlers in the land. Treaties were made with the Indians as early as 1817, with the Cherokee agreeing to move to the west of the Mississippi in eastern Kansas bordering Missouri, which was the western fringe of the newly formed United States where the Cherokee would now be considered the country’s western tribes of Indians.

Unfortunately, not all the tribes followed their lead. Thus, in 1830 the Indian Removal Act was authorized by President Andrew Jackson which was intended to force the last resistors to migrate west. During the fall and winter of 1838 and 39 the last of the Cherokee were forcibly moved west by the United States government. Approximately 4,000 Cherokee died on this forced march, which became known as the “Trail of Tears.”

In the 1860s, most of the Lenape branch of the Algonquins, those honored by the others as the grandfathers of them all, were also displaced and taken to portions of eastern Oklahoma. Thus, a large part of Lehi and Mulek’s children were now living just beyond the bounds of the early United States, far from the lands of their fathers where we would naturally think to look for them.

Yet, the Lord knew where they were. In a revelation given through the Prophet Joseph to Newell Knight in the D&C 54: 8, the Lord instructed him to flee his enemies and go west to Missouri—to the borders of the Lamanites. (D&C 54:8) Those using this scripture to place Book of Mormon lands west of Missouri forget that each of the tribes noted in the regions around Missouri  originated further east.

In spite of all their suffering over the years, times are destined to get better for God’s children of the forest. In the 1845 Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles, the Apostles declared that God would ultimately assemble all the natives, “the remnants of Joseph in America, and make of them a great, and strong, and powerful nation.”

They continued: “the despised and degraded son of the forest, who has wandered in dejection and sorrow, and suffered reproach, shall then drop his disguise and stand forth in manly dignity, and exclaim to the Gentiles who have envied and sold him- “I am Joseph, does my father yet live?” or in other words, I am a descendant of that Joseph who was sold into Egypt. “You have hated me, and sold me, and thought I was dead; but lo! I live . . .”

Although Lehi’s and Mulek’s children have long since melted into the mainstream of America, the time will come when they will know who their ancient fathers were, with both one day standing proudly in the shade of that Zion to come and proclaiming, “We, too, are Israel.”

The following video not only  outlines Book of Mormon territory as given in the scriptures, but focuses on the role the Indians play in identifying the lands the Nephite saga took place.