Poarch Creek Responds to Dismissal of Terrorist Charge

May 04, 2013, 17:39 ET from Poarch Band of Creek Indians

POARCH CREEK INDIAN RESERVATION, Ala., May 4, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- It is regrettable that Poarch Tribal law enforcement officials were not invited to show the Grand Jury video of the individual threatening to burn down our casino.  That video, and other evidence, clearly shows that this individual has made threats to our property, our Tribal members, our employees and our customers.  

When the incident occurred, law enforcement officials from both our Tribe and the county conducted an investigation, and subsequently filed charges of terrorist threat and criminal trespassing. As a Tribe, our concerns about the Oklahoma man only grew as we learned he had prior felony charges. Charges against him are still pending in this case in Alabama.

Publicly, this individual has worked diligently to have his actions against us portrayed as those of a martyr and political activist.  However, his prior criminal record, his refusal to respect our property rights, his belligerent behavior toward our Tribal members and employees, and his complete disregard for the truth surrounding our Hickory Ground land clearly call into question both his veracity and motivation.

Additionally, while maintaining his publicly defiant stance in the media, this individual has sent numerous messages to our Tribal leaders pleading that the charges against him be dropped noting that an additional felony conviction would only enhance the sentence imposed against him.  These are actions of a man who we consider duplicitous, dangerous and potentially destructive.

Like all citizens of Alabama and the United States, we have the right to restrict access to those who would trespass on our property. We will continue to exercise these rights and maintain the safety and security of our lands.

Below is a short summary of facts surrounding our development in Wetumpka. We would encourage the attorney "representing" the Muskogee Nation in Alabama to take time to understand both the history and the laws pertaining to Hickory Ground before making further public statements about our property.

Facts About the Tribe's Wetumpka Property and Its Development

1.      Many years ago the Poarch and Muskogee Creek Tribes were separated by historical events. Today, we are separate sovereign nations with completely separate lands.

2.      We have continually lived on our Alabama Tribal lands and survived centuries of poverty.

3.      Our Wetumpka property is a small portion of what had been a large Indian town called Hickory Ground. The land had been farmed and developed by others for centuries. When it came up for sale, we saw a way to regain some of our historical lands, protect our ancestors and history, and provide for our people and our communities.

  • We believed it was historically significant as a center of Creek Indian trade, government, and economic development.
  • Unbeknownst to us, a small part of the property we acquired was Hickory Ground Town's Ceremonial Grounds. The Ceremonial Grounds had not (and has not) been disturbed and the Tribe staunchly protects the site.
  • The current town of Wetumpka, Alabama, is built on what was once the Indian town of Hickory Ground. Prior to it becoming a Creek settlement, historians estimate that the area had been occupied by humans since at least 6000 B.C.

4.      We asked the Muskogee Nation to join with us in applying for a grant to buy the property.  They didn't respond.

5.      If we had known then what we know now, we may have done things differently. However, we cannot rewrite history.

  • The site had been eroded for many years due to farming and lack of maintenance.
  • State archeologists asked to study the site and we agreed.
  • We had limited finances, limited technology, and limited resources.

6.      We did not know that our Wetumpka property encompassed the Ceremonial Grounds for the town until 5 years after we had started developing the site. There has been NO development on the Ceremonial Grounds.

7.      The Ceremonial Grounds are protected and we have memorialized and preserved the remains found on our land.

  • Our northern 17 acres are preserved in perpetuity as a memorial to the historical significance of the site.
  • Remains found within the Ceremonial Grounds were never removed.
  • In accordance with Creek Indian tradition, remains found outside the Ceremonial Grounds were interred adjacent to the Ceremonial Grounds with prayer and ceremony.

8.      This property is Poarch land, and we know best how to protect and preserve our culture while providing for our community. It is inappropriate and divisive for one sovereign nation to try to control the lands of another sovereign. 

About the Poarch Band of Creek Indians
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians is the only federally recognized Indian Tribe in the state of Alabama, operating as a sovereign nation with its own system of government and bylaws. The Tribe operates a variety of economic enterprises, which employ hundreds of area residents. Poarch Creek Indian Gaming manages three gaming facilities in Alabama, including: Wind Creek Casino & Hotel in Atmore; Creek Casino in Wetumpka; and, Creek Casino in Montgomery. The Poarch Band of Creek Indians is an active partner in the state of Alabama, contributing to economic, educational, social and cultural projects benefiting both tribal members and residents of these local communities and neighboring towns.

SOURCE Poarch Band of Creek Indians