THE POARCH CREEK INDIANS
The Poarch Creek Indian tribe is a smaller band descending from the Creek Indian Tribe. The Creek Tribe once covered most of Georgia and Alabama. In Alabama, there was a small settlement named Tensaw. The Poarch Creek Indians helped the United States government fight the Northern Creeks in the Creek War and were then allowed to Even though some were allowed to stayin Alabama, they had to give up their status as Native Americans and become citizens of the United States. Even though they were not officially recognized as Native Americans any more, they continued to practice their culture and traditions. This group of people eventually became the Poarch Creek Indians that we know today. (Poarch Band of Creek Indians)
In the dawn of the nineteenth century, rising cultural tensions amongst the Creek Nation resulted in a divide between the Northern Creeks (known as the Red Sticks) who carried more traditional Indian values and practices, and the Southern Creeks (Poarch Creeks). The Poarch Indians invested in relations with the United States Government. This division of values led to the Creek War of 1813-14. On July 22, 1813, the Red Sticks began to murder Poarch Creeks and burn down their plantations.
The Poarch Creeks, in return, burned a number of Red Stick towns. The first clash between the Red Sticks and American forces was on July 21, 1813, where the Red Sticks defeated the Americans at The Battle of Burnt Corn. As a result the American forces, under the command of Andrew Jackson, allied with the Poarch Creek, along with the Cherokee Nation, to defeat the Red Sticks, who were coincidently British allies. (Alabama Department of Archives and History)
The Creek War came to an end with Jackson’s victory at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend on March 27, 1814. On August 9, 1814, Jackson forced both the Upper and Lower Creeks to sign the Treaty of Fort Jackson. Jackson saw no difference between his Poarch Creek allies and the Red Sticks who fought against him, and took both their lands for the security of the United States. The Creek Nation ceded 21,086,793 acres of land to the United States Government.
On August 11, 1984, the United States Government, Department of Interior, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs official recognized the Poarch Band of Creek Indians as a “Tribe”. On November 1984, 231.54 acres of land were taken into trust by the Poarch. (Toesnsing 2012)
PCIN began construction of a $246 million casino expansion at the Muscogee ancient burial site, “Hickory Ground”. The Muscogee Creeks were forced to move away from this sacred land during 1836-1837. In 2012, the Muscogee filed a lawsuit for desecration of the sacred land, claiming that 60 bodies had excavated and moved. The case is currently ongoing and unresolved. (McBride 2016)
Fast forwarding to Poarch Creek Indians today: the reservation site for the tribe of Indians is located in the southern part of Alabama, near the city Atmore. The Poarch Band of Creek Indians is in fact the only federally recognized Indian Tribe in the state of Alabama. There are about three thousand and fifty-five enrolled members of the Poarch Creek Indians.
There are specific requirements for joining the tribe. Members must be of Muscogee Creek heritage, as well as having at least one-fourth American Indian blood and cannot be enrolled in any other tribe. The tribal chair lies in the hands of a woman named Stephanie Bryan. (The Poarch Band of Creek Indians) Presently, the Poarch Creek Indian tribe is known for Indian gaming, casinos to be more specific. This tribe is in a process of expanding their gaming operations and also extending their business beyond the city of Alabama. The Indians continue their tradition of celebrations today.
Courey Toensing, Gale. "Muscogee Nation Sues Poarch Band Over Hickory Ground Desecration Read More at Http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/12/14/muscogee-nation-sues-poarch-b." Muscogee Nation Sues Poarch Band Over Hickory Ground Desecration. December 14, 12. <a href="http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/12/14/muscogee-nation-sues-poarch-band-over-hickory-ground-desecration-146314"> http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/12/14/muscogee-nation-sues-poarch-band-over-hickory-ground-desecration-146314 </a> .
Digmon, Sherry. Grass Field Boys. November 28, 2012. In Atmore News. November 28, 2012. Accessed September 20, 2016. http://www.atmorenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/IMG_7321.jpg.
McBride, Jessica. "Proposed Legislation Could Damage MCN Lawsuit concerning Hickory Ground." MUSCOGEE NATION NEWS, July 15, 2016. Accessed September 24, 2016. http://mvskokemedia.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/July_15_2016.pdf.
"Poarch Band of Creek Indians." Pc1-nsn.gov. Accessed September 20, 2016. History of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.
“ The Poarch Band of Creek Indians : Atmore, Alabama." The Poarch Band of Creek Indians :: Atmore, Alabama. Accessed September 28, 2016. <a href="http://pci-nsn.gov/westminster/index.html" target="_blank">http://pci-nsn.gov/westminster/index.html</a>.
“Using Primary Sources in the Classroom: Creek Indian War, 1813-1814 Introduction”. Alabama Department of Archives and History 3 March 2010. <a href="http://www.archives.state.al.us/teacher/creekwar/creek.html">http://www.archives.state.al.us/teacher/creekwar/creek.html</a>. Accessed 21 September 2016