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Thread: Creek Indian heritage

  1. #1
    Lone Wolf COWBOYSURVIVAL's Avatar
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    Default Creek Indian heritage

    I am a member of the Poarch Crrek Tribe. In the below excerpt from the Poarch Creek Website 2 names from my family tree are listed. I will be visiting on my next vacation. I visited as a teen and was discriminated against seemingly because the tribe didn't want to share their benefits. I ain't getting any younger and it is time I visited again if not for me but for my daughter. See below, Weatherford is listed and he is my GGGGGrandfather a Creek Chief in 1830. Sizemore is also listed and is my last name. I did the research along with my Aunt and my Father has gotten me on the role. Yes it is time for another visit. Grandma also has a Deed to over 200 acres that were left behind when my Grandfather took his mother and 11 siblings and moved to MS to escape his Father which had a very bad temperament, time to take a look at that too. I expect it won't go well, but it is time to find out. The Dept. of the Interior recognized me as a young child and paid me for lands taken from the Creek tribe that didn't recognize me at 17, maybe it'll be different at 38? Am I beating a dead horse or should I persue this? What say you?

    The below is copied from the tribes website......

    History of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians
    The Poarch Band of Creek Indians are descendents of a segment of the original Creek Nation, which once covered almost all of Alabama and Georgia. Unlike many southeastern Indian tribes, the Poarch Creeks were not removed from their tribal lands, and have lived together for over 150 years.

    In the late 1700's, the Creek Confederacy consisted of Alabama land north of current day Stockton, with the heart of the Creek Nation centralized along the intersection of the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers near Montgomery. The ancestors of the Poarch Creek Indians lived along the Alabama River, including areas from Wetumpka south to the Tensaw settlement.

    In the 1790 Treaty of New York, the Creeks gave the U.S. government permission to use and improve the Indian trail through Alabama to facilitate American settlement following the Louisiana Purchase. After the Treaty, the Creeks were allowed to establish businesses along the Indian trails, to accommodate settlers passing through Indian Territory. This Indian trail was widened and became the Federal Road.

    Ancestors of the Poarch Creeks moved down the Alabama River to meet demand for these necessary services to the young American government. These "Friendly Creeks" signed contracts with the new federal government to serve as guides, interpreters, ferrymen and river pilots for those traveling through the Creek Territory. They also operated inns and raised free-range cattle. These families acquired land along the Alabama River from Tensaw to Claiborne and eastward along Little River.

    As settlers passing through Indian Territory began to increase, a growing number stopped within the Creek Nation and began settling Indian land. Tensions also increased between Creeks considered "friendly" and those deemed "hostile" towards the U.S. Government. In 1813, a military skirmish at Burnt Corn and the retaliatory attack at Fort Mims resulted in the final battle and defeat of the Creek Nation at Horseshoe Bend. Andrew Jackson took command of Fort Toulouse, renamed it Fort Jackson, and signed the Treaty of Fort Jackson in 1814. As a result of the Treaty of Fort Jackson, the Creeks were illegally forced to cede their territory to the United States and were forcibly removed from their land in Alabama.

    Despite the policy of removal of Southeastern Indians to Oklahoma, several Creek families in the Tensaw community who had assisted the United States by providing essential services, including Manac, Hollinger, Sizemore, Stiggins, Bailey, Colbert, and Weatherford, were allowed to retain their land. Others, such as Semoice and Lynn McGhee, had been unable to file their land selections earlier. In 1836, a special act of Congress permitted land grants to Lynn McGhee, Semoice, Susan Marlow and Samuel Smith, or their heirs.

    By 1836, the Tensaw settlement was well populated and the timber companies had already purchased large tracts of timber land. This development left little nearby land available for land grants. Those families receiving 1836 land grants moved inland away from the River into the Poarch area near the Head of Perdido (Headapadea) and Huxford area in order to find sufficient tracts of grant land.

    Because of close family ties, the Indian families intermarried with each other so that a distinct group emerged. This group, which became the Poarch Creek Indians, was distinguished from whites and the other descendents of Creeks in the area, and in later years became discriminated against by them. These settlements became tightly clustered geographically and became more strongly based on a network of close kinship.

    The Poarch settlement remained largely ignored and increasingly impoverished following Removal. As discrimination increased, the Indian families became poorer and more isolated. Most families in the community were farm laborers, and later worked with pulp wood. Indian-only schools and churches developed before the turn of the century and were known from records to have existed as early as 1908. Indians were buried separately from whites in a segregated Indian cemetery, Judson Cemetery, on land donated by a freed slave.

    Since the early 1900's, there were some organized efforts to improve the social and economic situation of the Poarch Creeks. The federal government did become involved when it halted the Escambia County Alabama Tax Assessor's illegal taxation of the Federal Trust Land in Poarch in 1920. The federal government also instigated litigation to penalize trespassers illegally cutting timber on grant land, and this litigation continued until 1925. Episcopal missionaries began providing assistance in 1929. Dr. Robert C. Macy and his wife Anna provided basic medical care and assisted in coordinating the construction of St. Anna's Episcopal Church, which is still standing, and St. John's in the Wilderness church, which is no longer standing. The Indians chose the name St. Anna's in honor of Mrs. Anna Macy. These community churches were used as schools for the Indian children. Old photos show these missionaries performing baptisms in the local swimming hole.

    A number of actions were taken by the community in the late 1940's to improve community conditions, including a community boycott of the schools. In 1949, Escambia County, Alabama built a small segregated consolidated Indian School in Poarch, to provide Indians a "separate but equal" education, though only through the sixth grade. The community organized a committee which successfully forced local school authorities to provide the bus service which would allow Indian children to attend junior high and high school. Educational opportunities were further improved in 1970 as a result of the Civil Rights movement. In the early 1990's, the Tribe restored the Poarch Consolidated School, which currently houses the Calvin McGhee Cultural Center.

    Oral history, church and court records show a variety of clearly recognizable but not formally appointed leaders from at least the 1880's onward until 1950, when more formal leadership was established. The most prominent and widely influential of these leaders was Fred Walker, who was a leader between about 1885 and 1941. The first formal leader in the sense of a single leader with a definite title and a clearly defined role was Calvin McGhee, who was chosen in 1950. A charismatic leader, McGhee led the Poarch community until his death in 1970. He also led a wider land claims movement among Eastern Creek descendants, resulting from the illegal tactics of the Treaty of Fort Jackson.

    Calvin McGhee headed the council of the Creek Nation East of the Mississippi, established in 1950, which was based at Poarch and was led by Poarch community leaders. After McGhee's death, under a newer generation of leaders from within the Poarch community, the council gradually evolved into a nine-member formal governing body for the Poarch community alone.

    Eddie L. Tullis led the Poarch Creek Indians in their petitioning the United States government to recognize a government-to-government relationship. On August 11, 1984, these efforts culminated in the United States Government, Department of Interior, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs acknowledging that the Poarch Band of Creek Indians exists as an "Indian Tribe." The Tribe is the only Federally recognized Tribe in the State of Alabama. On November 21, 1984, 231.54 acres of land were taken into trust. On April 12, 1985, 229.54 acres were declared a Reservation.

    As of 2006, there are about 2,340 members of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, of which over 1,000 live in the vicinity of Poarch, Alabama (eight miles northwest of Atmore, Alabama, in rural Escambia county, and 57 miles east of Mobile). The current chairman of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians is Buford L. Rolin.
    Keep in mind the problem may be extremely complicated, though the "Fix" is often simple...

    "Teaching a child to fish is the "original" introduction to all that is wild." CS

    "How can you tell a story that has no end?" Doc Carlson


  2. #2
    Neo-Numptie DOGMAN's Avatar
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    Personally, I think let it go. Celebrate your heritage, and be proud of your Native American roots- but what do you hope to get by forcing the issue? You said you weren't welcomed by them when you visited in the past- why go where your not wanted? To me, its seems that your family-line left the tribe and hasn't been involved for a couple of generations, affiliations to a tribe are more often shared by cultural ties (shared experiences) than they are by blood lines from the past. So, if your not involved in the community- your not part of it.

    I am actually a 16th Cherokee (my great grandmother was 1/2 Cherokee), but I have no affiliation with the Cherokee tribe at all. However, I have spent alot of time on the Blackfoot reservation and have several friends there, and I am welcomed as family whenever I go to their events- however, I seek nothing from them other than friendship. If you must press the issue, maybe don't go to the reservation with a sense of entitlement, just go there and try to make friends, and after several years of celebrating your heritage with the tribe, then seek info about any rights or entitlements you might have
    The way of the canoe is the way of the wilderness and of a freedom almost forgotten- Sigurd Olson

    Give me winter, give me dogs... you can keep the rest- Knud Rasmussen

  3. #3
    Lone Wolf COWBOYSURVIVAL's Avatar
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    Thanks for that DOGMAN, makes alot of sense and your right it isn't about the entitlements. It is an interesting part of how I came to be where I am. If it interests you google Red Eagle (William Weatherford III), all the way back to 1830 he was half white as many white settlers were married to Chiefs Daughters'. Chiefdom was actually passed on by the Mother's lineage rather than the father. He took on the role of chief in a time of war therefore a war chief. Tecumseh had convinced the creek nation to war against the settlers telling them his magic would make them invisible to the white bullet. When Red Eagle could not convince his creek brethrren otherwise he led their victory at Fort Mimms and their loss at the Battle of Horseshoe bend. He escaped with his life by plunging 15 to 20 ft off of bluff on horseback into the river. He later rode into Andrew Jacksons camp and surrendered. Andrew Jackson granted him a pardon. He lived and died a free man to 59 yrs of age (pretty old for accounts of the time). He is buried a ways from the reservation beside his mother "Sehoy" a national monument. Also very intriguing to me his Father had an estate on the same river and was one of the first and largest thoroughbred breeders in the Southeast. Both mens horsemanship was said to be unparalleled. I am quoting this from memory so feel free to correct me on any account that anyone finds isn't accurate. Hopefully you can see why my interest runs deep.
    Last edited by COWBOYSURVIVAL; 09-09-2011 at 06:00 AM.
    Keep in mind the problem may be extremely complicated, though the "Fix" is often simple...

    "Teaching a child to fish is the "original" introduction to all that is wild." CS

    "How can you tell a story that has no end?" Doc Carlson

  4. #4
    Neo-Numptie DOGMAN's Avatar
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    Obviously, your interest in the tribe is deep. Go, with that. Tell the contacts you have there, that you've studied the written history available and heard some old stories from your relatives, but you would like to see for yourself what the tribe is like today- in the modern world. Then start attending events that are open to the public (pow wows, farmers markets, basketball games or lacrosse matches etc...) and slowly get involved.

    People on reservations are generally skeptical of outsiders (as well they should be- all of US History shows why they should be less than receptive to outsiders). Make yourself an "insider" over time, and prove to them your roots and intentions are pure and your not just another person trying to get something for nothing from them.
    The way of the canoe is the way of the wilderness and of a freedom almost forgotten- Sigurd Olson

    Give me winter, give me dogs... you can keep the rest- Knud Rasmussen

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