Poarch Band of Creek Indians facts for kids
|Regions with significant populations|
|United States ( Alabama)|
|Protestant, traditional beliefs|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Other Muscogee Creek tribes|
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians is the only federally recognized tribe of Native Americans in Alabama. (The state has recognized eight other tribes.) Speaking the Muskogee language, they were formerly known as the Creek Nation East of the Mississippi. They are located mostly in Escambia County. Since the late twentieth century, they have operated three gaming casinos and a hotel.
The Poarch Band descends from Muscogee Creek Indians of the Lower Towns who sided with the United States against the rebelling Northern Creek "Redsticks" in the Creek War of 1813–1814. Many Creek remained in Alabama despite the Indian Removal Act of 1830. At the time, they had to give up being members of the Creek and became United States and state citizens, as a condition of remaining.
The people maintained their community ties and culture, living in Alabama as an identifiable, distinct community for the last two centuries. They gained recognition as a tribe from the federal government in the 20th century, and re-established their own government under a written constitution. The Poarch Band represents only some of the descendants of those who were not removed.
Over the decades, many Indians in the Southeast have intermarried with African-American or European-American neighbors. Some of their descendants assimilated into those social and cultural groups. Others identified as Creek, particularly if born to Creek women. The Creek kinship system was historically matrilineal, with children considered born to the mother's clan and taking their social status from her. Descent and property passed through the maternal line. As with the children of Anglo or French fathers, such mixed-race children of Creek women are fully part of the tribe.
Tribal membership requirements
To be eligible to enroll in the tribe, people must be descended from the American Indians listed on one of three rolls: the 1870 U.S. Census of Escambia County, Alabama; 1900 U.S. Census of Escambia County, Alabama; or 1900 U.S. Special Indian Census of Monroe County, Alabama. Besides being of Muscogee Creek heritage, they must have a minimum blood quantum of 1/4 American Indian blood (equivalent to one full-blooded Creek grandparent) and not be enrolled in any other tribe. Each federally recognized tribe has the right to make its own rules of citizenship.
The Poarch Creek Indian Reservation is located in southern Alabama near the city of Atmore, Alabama. Their current tribal chairwoman is Stephanie Bryan The tribe owns Poarch Creek Indian Gaming, which operates three casinos: Wind Creek Casino and Hotel in Atmore, Creek Casino Wetumpka (formerly Riverside Entertainment Center) at Hickory Ground in Wetumpka, and Creek Casino Montgomery (formerly Tallapoosa Entertainment Center) in Montgomery. The tribe also owns a majority stake in the Mobile Greyhound Park, the Pensacola Greyhound Park, and Creek Entertainment Gretna.
In 2012 the tribe announced plans to expand their gaming operations at Hickory Ground. The Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma, a federally recognized tribe, has filed suit to prevent this. They argue that the expansion will require excavation and reinterment of remains from a historic Creek burial ground at this site.
The tribe moved to extend its gaming business beyond Alabama in 2016, agreeing to purchase the Margaritaville Resort Casino in Bossier City, Louisiana, and partnering with the Washoe Tribe to open a casino near Reno, Nevada.
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