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Letter to Tribal Leaders From Muscogee (Creek) Nation

George Tiger
10/16/13

Dear Tribal Leader:

Several months ago a letter referencing the desecration of Oce Vpofv (Hickory Ground) was sent out by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians that was full of misinformation and distorted facts. Although some time has passed since you may have received that letter, we of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation have remained vigilant in our stance of opposition to their plans to expand a casino over our traditional homelands. Our continued actions in the legal systems and public arenas demonstrate our conviction to stop the desecration of Oce Vpofv (Hickory Ground).

I am writing to relate the important reasons why the Muscogee (Creek) Nation is seeking to preserve Hickory Ground. It is important to you because this case raises issues of cultural sovereignty rights that are important to all Tribal Nations.

In 1980, Hickory Ground was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, as the last capitol of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation prior to our forced removal to Indian Territory. Also, Hickory Ground has historic significance because the undisturbed burials and sacred funerary objects of our ancestors were located there, and the area was also a sacred ceremonial ground of our ancestors.

Over the past two decades, our Nation steadfastly opposed commercial development at Hickory Ground that would desecrate the ceremonial grounds, burials and graves of our ancestors. Despite our objections, approximately 57 sets of human remains and associated funerary objects were excavated to develop a gaming facility at Hickory Ground. We believe this excavation violated the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), as well as several other federal laws enacted to protect sacred Indian lands.

Perhaps the most unfortunate aspect of this conflict is that another Indian tribe, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, is responsible for the excavation and desecration at Hickory Ground. The Muscogee (Creek) Nation strongly supports the rights of all Indian Tribes to conduct gaming and pursue economic development. However, we don not believe these rights trump the deeply held tribal values of respecting ancestors, burial sites, ceremonial grounds and cultural sovereignty. The Poarch Band has turned away our people who have attempted to conduct ceremonies for those ancestors that have been disturbed and displaced, and made claims against our people that have been dismissed in orderly legal processes. In light of all that has happened, our Muscogee (Creek) people have shown admirable restraint.

I am hopeful that awareness of Hickory Ground will lead to greater protection for Native American human remains, and that your Nation will support our efforts to strengthen federal laws to protect our sacred places and cultural rights for future generations.

Sincerely,

George Tiger, Principal Chief, Muscogee (Creek) Nation

 

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Anonymous's picture
In 2001 and 2002 I was working for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Wetumpka, Al. At that same time the Archeological / Historical Societies for the State of Alabama and two of the Alabama Univerities spent their time escavating all the grounds for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians so no building would be placed upon ancestors burial sites or sacred grounds. Not once in those two years did I ever see or hear of a Muscogee Creek coming to pay homage to their ancestors. WHY? Why didn't all this fuss come about when there was only doublewide trailers (the original Bingo Hall) on the property? Why was there never any ceremonies performed in those two years to honor the ancestors they are so concerned about now? It just sounds to me like they are using excuses because they are jealous of what the Poarch Band has accomplished for their people.
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous, you contradict yourself. While you knew various state funded groups were excavating all the grounds so no building would be placed on ancestral burial grounds, were remains found that you know of, but the PBCI decided to build anyway? In those two years, do you also know if any committed members of the PBCI came to pay homage? Did you try and pay homage? Or, did you just sit in your office doing a job & not even practicing even miniscule rights of our forefathers? I've seen these ludicrous "must be jealous" posts floating even on the PBCI facebook page. The greatest embarrassment here is that the majority of the members of PBCI have no idea what it means to be a Creek descendant. With that being said, I pray the Ocmulgee Creek Nation of Oklahoma opens it's membership rolls to those who are true descendants of the Creek nation and left behind by those who hijacked Chief McGhee's movement to include rightful Creek descendants on the PBCI rolls. If that happens, the flocking to the Muscogee Creek nation will number into the 10's of thousands, if not 100's of thousands of true descendants of the Creek nation. I would personally thank the Creek Nation of Oklahoma if they changed their citizenship requirement, because being a current member of the PBCI seems like nothing but an embarrassment.
Anonymous