Council House opens

Council House opens
(K. Barnett/Reporter) The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Cultural Center & Archives Department hosted a grand opening for the Creek Council House Nov. 17.

“This restoration, it’s for you, it’s for all our citizens… those who reside in other states [and] throughout the world.” – MCN Principal Chief James Floyd

Kevin Barnett/Reporter

Displays give glimpse of life in late 1800s

OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — After months of planning and preparation, the Creek Nation Council House, located in downtown Okmulgee, opened to the public Nov. 17.

The day’s events began with a general session meeting of the MCN National Council, which was immediately followed by a dedication ceremony and prayer.

The two-story sandstone structure, originally erected in the late 1800s, was lost to the Nation in 1906. Possession was transferred to the U.S. Department of the Interior with the passage of the Five Civilized Tribe Act, which effectively ended self-governance for a time.

Ownership was again transferred for the purchase price of $100,000 to the city of Okmulgee in 1917. The funds were deposited into the U.S. Treasury on behalf of the tribe.

The subsequent decades saw the structure assume many different roles such as a museum, a sheriff’s office and even a temporary location for the local YMCA.

The Council House remained the property of Okmulgee until 2010 when, under the leadership of Chief A.D. Ellis, the MCN bought back the property for $3.2 million.

“I had the privilege of being in office when we had to buy it back. I resented buying it back, but that’s how we had to get it,” said Ellis.

The Nation regained possession of its collection of historical items in 2013 and renovations began in early 2017.

According the MCN Cultural & Archives Department, who oversaw the restoration, the total cost of the project was approximately $4 million. The Nation covered 60 percent with the remaining amount provided through the Historic Tax Credit program.

“This restoration, it’s for you, it’s for all our citizens… those who reside in other states [and] throughout the world,” Principal Chief James Floyd said.

Among the items displayed on exhibit within the Council House is a sword and sheath once owned by Samuel Checote, Isparhechar’s rifle sheath and items used by early Light Horsemen.

The Council House is now open to the public with operating hours 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

For more information, contact the MCN Cultural & Archives office at 918-549-2434.

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