Poarch resumes construction in Wetumpka

Published 11:51 pm Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians has resumed its development plans for a hotel and casino on land it owns in Wetumpka.

The tribe had suspended construction in a “show of good faith,” members said in a statement, to meet with members of the Muscogee Nation over concerns about the project.

Poarch officials said they made the decision to resume construction after meeting in Oklahoma this week with elected leaders of the Muscogee Creek Nation and traditional leaders of Hickory Ground Town (a traditional Indian town within the Muscogee Nation).

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“We have been extremely careful to plan a development that is culturally sensitive while ensuring the economic well-being of our Tribal members, our community and our state,” Tribal Council Member Arthur Mothershed said in a statement. “It is a balanced, reasonable approach for using land that we own, which has been met with increased opposition from some in Oklahoma.

“Now, we are being faced with demands to remove ancestral remains that have already been reinterred. We can ensure that no more remains will be excavated. It has been almost eight years since any remains have been unearthed.

“We cannot change the fact that remains were found and removed. Those remains are now reinterred and we cannot support disturbing those remains again.”

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians is the only federally recognized Indian tribe in Alabama. Its tribal members have lived continuously in the region for centuries, specifically near present day Atmore, since the early 1800s.

Poarch’s plans for Wind Creek Wetumpka are to build a hotel and casino similar to the Wind Creek Casino and Hotel in Atmore.

For more on this story, see Saturday’s edition of The Atmore Advance.