TVLSE, Okla. — Nov. 4 marked another annual celebration for the Council Oak Tree at the Creek Nation Council Oak Park in downtown Tulsa.
For years, leaders from the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and the ceremonial grounds have met at the park to pay tribute to the old oak tree.
Saturday’s ceremony was emceed by National Council Representative Galen Cloud. Representatives from each ceremonial ground were also in attendance.
MCN Principal Chief David Hill signed a proclamation declaring Nov. 4 the Council Oak Tree Ceremony Day.
Cultural Preservation GIS Specialist Gano Perez took to the podium to read the proclamation.
“I love you all,” Perez said. “I am so happy to share this day with you.”
The Council Oak Tree signifies the first site where the Mvskoke people of Locvpoka made their first arrival in 1836 after surviving removal.
Cloud named each ground as their representative stood up and waved to the crowd.
“There’s a lot of things that go on at these ceremonies,” Rep. Cloud said. “Things these men were taught when they were boys, when they were chosen for these roles.”
He opened the microphone up to the ceremony leaders as well, giving them a chance to speak.
Many mvtos and introductions were shared over the open microphone as many expressed the importance, memories, and stories of the Council Oak Tree.
Hickory Ground Mekko George Thompson spoke in Mvskoke, then English, thanking God for the beautiful day to have this ceremony.
Thompson reminded everyone of the significance of the tree and what it means to the Mvskoke people.
“Even if you aren’t a ground member, you have a tribal town,” Thompson said to the crowd.
Once Thompson took his seat, Cloud took back the microphone and spoke on the importance of the ceremonial grounds.
“If you are invited to the grounds, it is an honor,” Cloud said. “I urge all of you to visit, see where you are from and where your family is from.”
At one point, the tree provided the locale of ceremonies and business for the Mvskoke people. It now lies inside a fenced off area in downtown Tulsa surrounded by streets, apartments, and homes.
A neighborhood local, Chris McKee along with MCN Culture and Humanities Secretary RaeLynn Butler have initiated a small neighborhood group to help preserve and maintain the old oak tree.
“As people who live in the shadows of the tree, we want to help preserve it as long as it shall live,” McKee said.
For more information on the Council Oak Tree, visit the Creek Nation Council Oak Tree Park Facebook page.