by Richard L. Thornton, Architect & City Planner
During the 1930s, it was the largest archaeological investigation ever carried out in the United States. My first mentor, Dr. Arthur Kelly, was Director of that project. Whatever it’s real name . . . probably Waka . . . Ocmulgee in reality was a megapolis, stretching for about 40 miles (64.3 km) along the Ocmulgee River, from near Jackson, GA southward to Hawkinsville, GA. Ocmulgee Bottoms was densely populated long before the construction of large mounds began around 900 AD. Many ethnic groups settled there, but blended together to become the Creek Indians. It is the location where the so-called “Mississippian Culture” first appeared.
Leaders of the City of Macon and the Muscogee-Creek Nation have agreed that Ocmulgee National Historic Park should be expanded to becoming a full-blown multi-asset National Park & Nature Preserve, plus that this park should be managed by members of the Muscogee-Creek Nation in such a way that a wide variety of scientific research and public recreation activities may share the park.
A treaty in 1805 granted a six square mile reserve around the ancient ruins to the Creek Confederacy AND Creek citizens of Georgia, living outside of the Confederacy boundaries, such as my family . . . in perpetuity, but State of Georgia officials intentionally and immediately allowed squatters and real estate speculators to occupy the Ocmulgee Creek Reserve.
In Georgia, the Ocmulgee National Park and Preserve Initiative, a non-profit organization, is moving ahead with the double goal of park expansion and Creek Nation involvement. The ONPPI has employed a female attorney, who is a citizen of the MCN. This concept will create exceptional career opportunities for Creek and Seminole young people.
If you want to learn more about what is happening at Ocmulgee National Historical Park, here are two on-line articles that you can read: