Floridian Nature

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Florida Tribes: Creek Indians
The Creeks are original residents of the American southeast, particularly Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and North Carolina. Creek is the European name given to the Muscogee because of their geographic location. At the start of the 1500's the Muscogee occupied nearly all of what is the southeast United States. They claimed the territory on the east from the Savannah to St. Johns river and all the islands, thence to Apalachee Bay, and from this line northward to the mountains. The south portion of this territory was held by dispossession of the earlier Florida tribes. That came to an end in the 1600's when the Cherokee, and later the Europeans, drove them west to Alabama and finely to what is now Oklahoma.

The Creek woman was short in stature but well formed, while the warrior, according to Pickett (Hist. Ala., 87, ed. 1896), was "larger than the ordinary race of Europeans, often above 6 ft. in height, but was invariably well formed, erect in his carriage, and graceful in every movement. They were proud, haughty, and arrogant; brave and valiant in war." As a people they were more than usually devoted to decoration and ornament; they were fond of music, and ball play was their most important game. Exogamy, or marriage outside the clan, was the rule. In government it was a general rule that where one or more clans occupied a town they constituted a tribe under an elected chief, or miko, who was advised by the council of the town in all important matters, while the council appointed the "great warrior" or tustenuggi-hlako. They usually buried their dead in a square pit under the bed where the deceased lay in his house. Certain towns were consecrated to peace ceremonies and were known as "white towns," while others set apart for war ceremonials were designated as "red towns." They had several orders of chiefly rank. Their great religious ceremony was the annual puskita, of which the lighting of the new fire and the drinking of the black drink  were important accompaniments. Muscogee towns are based around a Mother town. When a town reached 400 to 600 people, part of the town would move to a new area just outside the Mother town. They would then start there own village which would maintain the same layout. The traditional home of the Creek people is the hut which is roofed with grass or wood. For more than a century before their removal to the west, between 1836 and 1840, the people of the Creek confederacy occupied some 50 towns, in which were spoken 6 distinct languages, viz, Muscogee, Hittite, Koasati, Yuchi, Natchez, and Shawnee.

Conflict between Muscogee and Europeans started with a battle in Lumpkin County near Slaughter Gap. It was the first of many defeats that forced the Muscogee farther west. A later battle forced the Muscogee south and west to the Chattahoochee and Coose Rivers. This is why the names Upper and Lower were added to the new separate Muscogee tribes. Gov. George Troup drove the Muscogee out after the Treaty of Indian Springs was signed. By 1827 the Creeks were gone from Georgia.


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