Special Creek exhibit open to public
Published 4:56 pm Wednesday, November 6, 2002
From Press, Staff Reports
A special exhibit will be on display at the Poarch Creek Indian Reservation starting this month.
The Native Lands Exhibit will be displayed for the first time ever starting this month and running through January at the reservation. The exhibit arrived at the reservation Monday afternoon and was being set up Tuesday. The display is open to the public, and a number of schools throughout the area have already scheduled field trips to visit the display, including as many as 400 students coming through on Friday.
"This is a very educational exhibit," said the tribe's Community Relations Director Roy Shiver. "It helps to explain our culture, our way of life, who we are and how we got here."
The exhibit tells the story of the Cherokee and Creek people. It highlights the tribes vibrant cultures, which have survived great odds and remain and continue to develop to this day. Their lands they left behind remain very important in their cultural memory and identities, and their story is part of the history and identity of everyone.
The exhibit contains reproductions of historic photographs and flat documents, as well as objects and text panels related to Cherokee and Creek culture. The exhibit is appropriate for adults as well as elementary, middle and high school students.
After its display in Atmore, the exhibit is scheduled to be displayed at the Atlanta History Center.
Despite the removal of the majority of the Creek Nation, one community of Creeks continued to exist in Southwest Alabama. Ancestors of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians lived at the Tensaw settlement, a community of Friendly Creeks in the Alabama-Tensaw River area, not far from the Tribe's current location.
During the late 18th century, Tensaw was established on Creek Nation land by an act of the Chiefs of the Creek Confederacy. The settlement attracted many from the Upper Creek towns to the north. Many of these Creek Indians initially developed holdings at Tensaw while maintaining their homes in the Upper Creek towns as well. During the removal of many of the tribes, some residents of the Tensaw community did take the journey along the Trial of Tears to Oklahoma, but many of them remained in Alabama.
After the removal, most of the remaining Indian families of Tensaw moved inland about 15-20 miles, settling on lands along the upper course of the Little River and to the southeast in northwest Escambia County. These settlements were located on and near two land grants of Lynn McGhee.
McGhee and other friendly Creeks were awarded land grants by the Federal Government in return for their loyalty by remaining at peace with the government during the Creek War. These Creek families form the base of the contemporary Poarch Band of Creek Indians, which is the only federally recognized tribe in the State of Alabama today.