Ocmulgee historical site awaits expansion, national park status

Ocmulgee historical site awaits expansion, national park status
(MN File Photo) One of the earthen mounds within the federally protected portion of the Ocmulgee historical site.

Bill awaits U.S. Senate approval

Darren DeLaune/Reporter

MACON, Georgia — The Ocmulgee National Monument in Macon, Georgia contains earthen mounds constructed as part of the Mvskoke people’s original home and legislation to expand the site by around 2,000 acres, and make it Georgia’s first national park is now being considered.

“It’s the only site in the United States that can be documented 100 percent Muscogee (Creek) occupied,” Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief James Floyd said during his Oct. 27 quarterly report.

A press release on the website of H.R. 538 sponsor U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop of Georgia (D), states this bill to approve the effort was reintroduced after it passed the House but was not considered by the full U.S. Senate before adjournment last year.

Once again, the bill awaits further action in the Senate.

“That bill appears to be another bill that will go down to the last minute of the session but one I believe that will pass and be signed into law,” Floyd said during his report.

Floyd said the tribe has been coordinating with many officials representing the area and mentioned specific portions within the proposed expansion they are looking to protect.

“I think the significance of that for us, in adding an additional 2,000 acres is that it does include a burial mound that is on private property,” he said. “Burial mounds are important to us because the Ocmulgee Mounds National Monument has evidence of 600 years of continued existence of our ancestors, Muscogee (Creek),” he said.

Bishop said in the release that he considers the Ocmulgee Mounds a treasure for the state of Georgia.

“The Ocmulgee Mounds are truly a cultural and archeological treasure,” Bishop said. “The site of these historic mounds has been inhabited continuously for 17,000 years and the ceremonial mounds and earth-lodges that exist today were built over 1,000 years ago.”

The release states if the bill passes, a resources study will be conducted to include recreational activities such as hunting, fishing and camping and serve to educate visitors about the cultures that inhabited the land, while generating revenue for Macon.

‘The mounds and earth-lodges that the Mississippians built to serve as formal council chambers when they arrived in Macon around 900 A.D. remain intact for all to see and appreciate,’ it states.

It states federal protection of the area began in 1934 and the original effort hoped to cover closer to what the current legislation proposes, but only ended up at about 678 acres, which eventually was expanded to where it currently sits at 702.



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