Muscogee Government & Politics

Letter To The Editor: Wetumpka Casino On Creek Burials

THIS OPINION WAS A RESPONSE TO AN ARTICLE ENTITLED “Gambling and getting rich: Poarch Creek casinos cashing in on Alabama’s anti-gambling crusade” AND WAS ORIGINALLY SENT TO THE ANNISTON STAR BUT THE COMMENTS WERE NEVER POSTED. THE LINK TO THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE CAN BE FOUND HERE.

To The Editor:

So the income Poarch Band gains justifies

Granite nameplate designating the Hickory Ground Tribal Town or Oce Opofv at the Muscogee Nation War Memorial located at the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Capital Complex in the State of Oklahoma.

their desecration of graves and the storage of human bones (wrapped in old newspapers) in plastic buckets in an old storage shed? Their financial success justifies an asphalt parking lot over one grave and a casino on top of another? The real estate boom in Wetumpka vindicates Poarch Band’s bulldozing of one of Alabama’s oldest historic sites?

The Native people who worked for years to get Congress to approve the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act never imagined that ANY tribal government would desecrate the burials of another Native people. They are all revulsed by what Poarch Band has done in total rejection of almost thirty years of formal objections by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation (removed by federal troops to Indian Territory [Oklahoma] in the Creek War of 1836-38).

Congress appropriated funds to preserve historic sites. The US Department of the Interior granted funds to the State of Alabama for the preservation of Hickory Ground in Wetumpka.

Someone in the state government is morally liable for conceding to the Poarch Band’s request that the preservation covenant expire after 25 years. That’s not preservation. That’s a development plan.

I am waiting an answer on my request for information regarding whether the Interior Solicitor’s Office ruled, years ago, that the Hickory Ground tract could not be placed in USA Trust for the Poarch Band because “they have no cultural relation to the site.”

It would help if a journalist would check the local court house records to see whether a “USA Trust” deed was ever filed. If not, then the site is not “trust” land and is not “Indian Country” and is subject to state jurisdiction.

If I was misinformed and that opinion was not issued, or the USA Trust deed is on file, there is still another way to right this wrong.

Congress (see: plenary power over Indian affairs) can take the site from Poarch Band and assign it to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, which is willing and ready to accept a stipulation in the trust deed that no gaming or commercial or industrial activity be permitted thereafter on the site. An appropriation would be required to remove the current structures and return the site to its original topography and restore the native plants.

I do not know why the churches of Alabama have never spoken out against this grave robbing.

I do not know why the officers of the State of Alabama have not fought to preserve this historic site.

I do know the people of Oce Opofv {Hickory Ground} here, 700 miles from the graves of their ancestors. I know their family stories of the suffering and death as they were walked at gun-point up the Arkansas valley, fed rations supplied by the lowest bidder, boiling and reboiling corn they found in horse dung to feed their children, and wrapping the bodies of those who died of exhaustion in quilts and covering them with fallen timber. Those people, still keeping traditions many thousands of years old which come from your soil, deserve better from the people of Alabama.

Robert W. Trepp
Enrolled Muscogee (Creek) Citizen
Jenks, Oklahoma

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Tribal Town Radio is the official web blog of Muscogee (Creek) Citizens Coalition Inc. Muscogee (Creek) Citizens Coalition Inc. is a web-based not for profit organization. Copyright 2011- 12. All rights reserved.
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