ALABAMA CREEK INDIAN TRIBES
Muscogee Creek Nation Alabama
Also called the Muscogee, the Creek were made up of several separate tribes that occupied Georgia and Alabama in the American Colonial Period. One of the Five Civilized Tribes, they formed the Creek Confederacy with other Muscogean speaking tribes, the Alabama, Hitchiti, and Coushatta. Their confederacy, which formed the largest division of the Muscogean family, included other Muscogean tribes such as the Catawba, Iroquois, and Shawnee, as well as the Cherokee. Their confederacy, which formed the largest division of the Muscogean family, included other Muscogean tribes such as the Catawba, Iroquois, and Shawnee, as well as the Cherokee.
The Creeks were the largest, most important Indian group living in Alabama. They called themselves, “People of the One Fire.” The English traders called them “Creeks” because their villages were built primarily along creeks and rivers. The Muskogee (Creek) tribes occupied southeast Alabama until they were driven out in the 1820s.
In the early days, most of the Creek villages were in Georgia. However, with the arrival of the English colonists in 1730, the majority of the Creek nation was forced to join their relatives who had taken residence in the “western wilderness” which would eventually become known as “Alabama”. The name “Alabama” was taken from the “Alibamos” Indians, the first Creek tribe to populate the region.
History of the Creek Indians in Alabama
The history of the Creek begins with the appearance of De Soto’s array in their country in 1540. Spanish conquistador, Tristan de Luna came in contact with part of the group in 1559, but the only important fact that can be drawn from the record is the deplorable condition into which the people of the sections penetrated by the Spaniards had been brought by their visit. Another Spanish explorer, Juan del Pardo, passed through their country in 1567, but Juan de la Bandera, the chronicler of his expedition, has left little more than a list of unidentifiable names.
The Creek came prominently into history as allies of the English in the Apalachee Warsochese creek indians
of 1703-08, and from that period continued almost uniformly as treaty allies of the South Carolina and Georgia colonies, while hostile to the Spaniards of Florida. The only serious revolt of the Creek against the Americans took place in 1813-14, in the well-known Creek war, in which General Andrew Jackson took a prominent part. This ended in the complete defeat of the Indians and the submission of Weatherford, their leader, followed by the cession of the greater part of their lands to the United States. The extended and bloody Seminole War in Florida, from 1835-1843, secured permanent peace with the southern tribes.
THE PRE-REMOVAL PERIOD, 1546-1826
The name Creek derives from “Ochese Creek Indians,” the appellation first given a part of this Indian confederation in British colonial documents in 1720. Ochese Creek was an old name for the Ocmulgee River in Georgia. The easternmost tribes of the Creek Nation were living along the upper courses of this stream when the English first initiated trade with them (Swanton 1952, 157; Wright 1951,128).
“Creek” eventually became the popular designation for the whole confederated Nation. The terms Upper Creek (to designate the western tribes) and Lower Creek (for the eastern tribes) later became the stereotypic names used by Euro-American colonial officials. By the late 18th century, these terms came to refer to the geographical position of two tribal divisions that occupied most of what is now the states of Georgia and Alabama.
The Upper Creeks lived in towns along the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers, main trllbutaries of the Alabama River, and the Lower Creeks in towns along the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers, near the present Alabama-Georgia border. Sometime after 1700 the Creeks accepted another name for themselves, Muskogee or Muscogee, the precise origin and meaning of which is not known. The Muskogee or Creek belong to the Muskhogean linguistic family, whichderives its name from the Indian nation (Wright, ibid.).
Prior to the first European contact with the Creek tribes in 1546 by the Spanish exploler Hernando De Soto in what is now southeastern Georgia, some of the Muskhogean tribes had banded together for mutual protection. This tendency to unite for a common purpose gradually led to the formation of the Creek Nation, a league of independent tribes in which the Muskhogean peoples were dominant. The Muskogee proper comprised approximately 12 separate tribes, including; the Eufaula, Kasihta, Coweta, Abihka, Wakokai, Bilabia, Atasi, Ko1ami, T’ukabachee, Parkana, and Okchai. Around the year 1700 some unrelated southeastern tribes began to affiliate with the Creek Nation, including the Hitchiti, Alabama, Koasati, Natchez, Yuchi, and a band of the Shawnee (Wright 1951, 130-131). Each of these newly-affiliated tribes had its own language and customs and established towns or settlements within Creek territory, the location of which was determined according to its alignment with either the Upper or Lower Creek divisions. Gradually, the 50 or more towns which existed in the 18th century became part of a single political organization: the Creek Nation. Yet, each town retained its autonomy and the first loyalty of its people (Green 1979,vii,8,10). “As an association of separate, distinct, sovereign, and independent groups,” writes the historian Michael D. Green, “the [Creek] Confederacy was a loose gathering of tribes that maintained peace between its constituents andprovided both a defensive security and a potential for allied offensive
THE REMOVAL PERIOD, 1827-1837
Under the terms of the treaty of March 24, 1832, Creek tribal leaders ceded all of their remaining lands east of the Mississippi River to the United States (Kappler 1903-1941, 2:341-343). However, 90 Creek chiefs and the heads of “every other Creek family” were allowed to remain in Alabama and select a certain allotment of the tribal domain to be patented to each in fee simple by the United States within five years. The treaty provided that the allottees could sell their tracts under the supervision of special Federal officers, but this policy was perverted to benefit speculators and to defraud the Indians of their land and money (Young 1955, 411-37).
THE POST-REMOVAL PERIOD, 1838-1900
By 1838 most the reaaining Creek Indians in Alabama had been compelled to emigrate to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) (Foreman 1932,179). There are, however,documentary references which indicate that some Creeks continued to remain within the state at various locations, including the
region near the Chattahoochee River (Paredes 1985,2-5).
Creek Indian Tribes Recognized by the State of Alabama
Ma-Chis Lower Creek Indian Tribe of Alabama
Southeastern Mvskoke Nation
208 Dale Circle
Midland City, AL 36350
The Muscogee, also known as the Mvskoke, Creek and the Muscogee Creek Confederacy, are a related group of Indigenous peoples of the Southeastern Woodlands. Mvskoke is their autonym. Their original homelands are in what now comprises southern Tennessee, all of Alabama, western Georgia and part of northern Florida.
Cher-O-Creek Intra Tribal Indians
1315 Northfield Circle
Dothan, AL 36303