Video: The Renaissance of the Creek People

How and when did the current Creek and Seminole Tribes form?


by Richard L . Thornton, Architect & City Planner


Did you know that the Creek descendants living east and south of Lake Okeechobee, Florida called themselves Mayas until 1951? They considered themselves to be a separate ethnic group than the Seminoles living in other parts of Florida, but were forced to change their name to Miccosukee, in order to be recognized by the Federal government. Federal bureaucrats were afraid that if the US Government recognized a Maya tribe in the United States, vast waves of Maya immigrants from Central America would seek residence in the Southeastern United States.

Did you know that there is a cluster of Creek tribes in southern Alabama, northern Florida and southeast Georgia, whose tribal governments predate that of the Muskogee-Creek Nation? They formed the Southeastern Creek Confederacy. These Southeastern tribes formed first then sent emissaries to Oklahoma, inviting those Creeks and Seminoles to join in a National Creek Confederacy. The Oklahoma Creeks refused and instead reconstituted their own tribal government several years later. Somewhat later the Southeastern Creek Confederacy fell apart over the issue of gambling. Only one member, the Poarch Creek Tribe, wanted to develop gambling casinos.

In all fairness, the Poarch Creeks have been quite successful in that endeavor. They are such skilled managers that other tribes around the nation invited them to manage their own casinos. The Seminole Tribe of Florida has also developed a nationwide chain of business enterprises, so now it is unlikely that a National Creek Confederacy will ever exist.

These are some of many surprises that you will have in this video.

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