OKMULGEE, Oklahoma – The Muscogee Nation held a second annual Honor Walk June 21 to observe the 2021 National Day of Prayer to Protect Native American Sacred Places.
The MCN Department of Historic and Cultural Preservation, MCN Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse Services, and Hickory Ground Ceremonial Ground co-sponsored the event.
Guest speakers included US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, Principal Chief David Hill, Second Chief Del Beaver, and Representatives from Hickory Ground Ceremonial Ground and Peach Ground.
MCN Historic and Cultural Preservation Department Manager RaeLynn Butler stated the goal of the event was to have an observance at the MCN for the National Day of Prayer to Protect Native American Sacred Places.
“We wanted to bring awareness to the protection of all our Mvskoke ceremonial grounds, churches, cemeteries, and all sacred places on our reservation and in our homelands,” Butler said.
“We specifically highlighted Oce Vpofv (Hickory Ground) who has been fighting to save Hickory Ground in Wetumpka, Alabama from further desecration after a casino was built over the original tribal town and over 57 ancestors graves were removed.”
The story of Oce Vpofv, Hickory Ground in AL, is what started the Annual Honor Walk for Sacred Places.
Prior to removal, the Muscogee People inhabited the lands of Alabama where Hickory Ground was first established. It is a place of great historic, spiritual and governmental importance for the Muscogee Nation.
The once home of the Muscogee Nation is now home to the Poarch (Creek) Band of Indians.
In the 2000s, plans were being made between the federal government and PCBI without consulting the Muscogee Nation.
PCBI excavated human remains and funerary objects from Muscogee ancestors at Hickory Ground. The remains and artifacts were not stored or maintained properly, with the whereabouts of many are still unknown.
In 2012, PCBI announced the construction of Wind Creek Casino Wetumpka, a $246 million casino and resort that happened to be right on top of the sacred lands of the Muscogee Nation.
The Muscogee Nation filed federal lawsuits to stop the construction of the casino, alleging that the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, National Historic Preservation Act, Archaeological Resources Protection Act and other laws had been violated.
In December 2013, PCBI held a grand opening for the finished casino that laid right over the peaceful final resting place of those people whose ancestry they claim.
Over the years, the Muscogee Nation has made attempts to seek reparations.
From 2017 to 2018, the Muscogee Nation has sought to reach a resolution with PCBI but were unsuccessful.
The Muscogee Nation continues to fight for justice for Hickory Ground in AL.
Full fact detailed chronology can be viewed at: https://www.muscogeenation.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/2019_06_03-Hickory-Ground_chronology_FINAL5.pdf.