Group opposes proposed casino site
By By Sherry Digmon
Advance Staff Writer
Some things are forever sacred. Not to be disturbed.
Cemeteries are such a place. And for American Indians, burial grounds are perhaps the most sacred of places. This is particularly true for a group of Indians in the Atmore area who oppose the proposed construction of a casino on a burial ground in Wetumpka.
The 100 members of Hvsossv Tallvhasse, the Creek spelling for the traditional grounds, have been watching warily as discussions have turned toward the Wetumpka site, known as Hickory Ground.
James Linam, the Mekko or ceremonial chief of the grounds, issued the following statement concerning the casino on behalf of Hvsossv Tallvhasse:
Recently, several members of Hvsossv Tallvhasse gathered to substantiate Linam's statement – Lightfoot, William Bailey, Cheryl Bailey, Jeff Frye, Angela Carter, Buddy Anderson, Angel Faye and Penny Hurak.
According to Lightfoot, Hvsossv Tallvhasse has felt an urgency to make their opposition known, but now may be able to adopt a wait and see attitude.
He and others of Hvsossv Tallvhasse have met with the new Poarch Creek Indian Tribal Chairman Fred L. McGhee, who apparently has no immediate plans to pursue a casino in Wetumpka and may not pursue one at all if Hvsossv Tallvhasse proves Hickory Ground is sacred.
Hickory Hill once served as the Creek Nation's governmental center before the Creeks were removed to Oklahoma. The grounds were saved from development in the 1980s and the State of Alabama bought the property to give it back to the Poarch Creek Indians.
William Bailey said Hickory Ground is about 35 acres. They do not know how many bodies are buried there.