PCI agreement would be good for city

Published 5:58 pm Wednesday, May 2, 2001

By Staff
To the editor:
I am writing in reference to your front page story entitled "Council denies PCI housing request" which appeared in The Atmore Advance on April 25, 2001.
I am a tribal member of the Poarch Creek Indians and this article really disturbs me. It appears to me that the city council not only denied our request again but didn't even have enough decency about themselves to have any type of discussion on the issue at hand. What is it you're afraid of? If the City of Atmore would do some investigating and talk with other cities and counties that have signed the agreement, then they would see that this is a legitimate request with nothing to lose, only more to gain for the City of Atmore.
As Tribal Chairman Fred McGhee pointed out to the city council, the impact that the Poarch Creek Tribe has on the City of Atmore is tremendous. The statistics show that a great portion of the tribe's money [circulates] through local banks, not to include money spent by tribal members on local doctors, drug stores for medicine, grocery stores, telephone companies, car dealerships, restaurants, clothing and other necessities.
Statistics alone should have at least earned a discussion over the topic, not to mention the information certain council members could have offered, i.e. Mr. Jim Staff could have brought up the fact that many of our dollars were spent buying vehicles from his family's car dealership, not only from tribal members but from our [Creek Indian] Enterprises as well. Mr. Webb Nall is very familiar with how often we purchase Pepsi products from his place of employment for numerous events. Mr. John Garrard was employed at a local bank at one time and should be well aware of the tribe's money that has been banked in local institutions. Poarch Creek and its enterprises furnish employment to many of Atmore's citizens without hesitation, and we enhance Atmore's economy even more with our annual Thanksgiving Day Pow Wow.
It appears as though the City of Atmore has no desire to allow the tribal members to build or buy homes within their city limits through a program offered by the tribe, for reasons unknown, but on the other hand, the city stands ready to ask for and receive donations from our tribe for various projects around their city, such as the renovation of the old house at Main and Craig streets, the fireworks celebration, and much more.
We have contributed generously to the City of Atmore and all we are asking is that the city work with us on this agreement. Looking at this situation from a tribal member's view, I say, that's three strikes against Atmore, now let's count them out!
I do not reside in Atmore and cannot participate in the local elections, but those tribal members who can, please remember it was a unanimous decision by the city council to deny this agreement with Poarch Creek.
As for me, I will no longer travel to Atmore to purchase items I cannot find in Flomaton, but will take this tribal member's dollar to Brewton instead and will encourage others to do the same!
Melissa Barnhill Ellis

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