“I think we opened some doors for future opportunities and so I’m very thankful for the opportunity to go down there.” — MCN Principal Chief James Floyd
Nation works with Georgia public schools
OKMULGEE, Okla. — Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief James Floyd addressed his trip May 11 to Alabama and Georgia.
The information was provided through video available on the MCN Public Relations Facebook page.
Floyd said the MCN Cultural Preservation Program responded to 727 requests last quarter throughout 12 different states regarding issues on the Native American Grave Protection Act, construction sites and plans for renovations of roadways.
The southeastern part of the U.S. contains 12 states that have predominant Muscogee (Creek) historical sites, including removal routes from MCN homelands to Oklahoma.
Floyd said issues regarding grave destruction has been brought to his attention.
Recently, Floyd, Second Chief Louis Hicks, National Council Speaker Lucian Tiger, and Rep. David Hill went to Alabama and Georgia to meet with the governor’s staff, historic preservation staff and the Native American liaison for Georgia.
“We wanted to make sure that they understood our history in the state of Georgia,” he said.
Floyd explained the progress of the Every Student Succeeds Act in the state of Georgia.
According to ESSA, tribes must enter into a consultation with school districts.
“We’ve done at least 40 of those and within the Creek Nation already,” he said.
Schools are required by law to work with tribes to ensure that their education curriculum involves tribal participation.
“So it gives us an opportunity to have input on what is being taught in public schools,” he said.
MCN Education and Training staff will follow up with the state of Georgia to make sure the material provided to Georgia Public Schools contains information about Muscogee (Creek) people, confederacy and history.
“One concern that we have is the states of Alabama and Georgia have lost a sense of Muscogee people,” Floyd said.
Floyd said they met with a private developer who had removed a burial site in order to build a house over it.
He explained it was a U.S. Corps of Engineers project and they have since halted further development.
Floyd said they met with the developer and their staff, and discussed options moving forward.
“They cannot move forward without us and we want to be involved in making sure that we protect the sites, we keep those sites anonymous and that we’d be willing to preserve those sites in the future,” he said.
The developer has agreed to have MCN come in and provide information about the Muscogee people who lived in those areas.
“I think that’s hopefully turning the corner from a bad situation to a good situation, where we preserve and protect not only a historic site but burial sites as well,” Floyd said.
In addition, they met with Alabama state officials to discuss MCN’s involvement in the states upcoming 200th year anniversary.
Floyd explained that it will also be 200 years since the Nation’s removal from Alabama.
“So we wanted to make sure that they knew of our history and that our desire is to participate with them,” he said.
Floyd said they ended their trip in a city in Alabama that unearthed a burial site five years ago, and did not inform the Nation of the discovered remains for a year.
Floyd did not give the city’s name.
He explained the city has since done the best they could in ensuring Muscogee (Creek) history is being told.
Floyd said they have offered the Nation pieces of land that the tribe can use to have an exhibit hall and an area for cultural interactive events like bow making or canoe building.
He said they have responded to all 727 cultural preservation inquiries and are vigorously working on preserving sites and ensuring that reburials are conducted in a proper way.
Floyd felt they needed to make the trip to the two states to show that the leaders of the Nation are involved.
“I think we opened some doors for future opportunities and so I’m very thankful for the opportunity to go down there,” he said.
Floyd said it is important for the Nation and the history of the tribe to preserve historical and burial sites.