Muscogee Nation of Florida History:
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The miscegenation or Jim Crow laws of the South became the determinant for racial identity. In the State of Florida, a non-reservated Indian living in Northwest Florida after 1852 was classified as white, negro, or mulatto. There were no allowances made in the State for Indian people who were not Seminoles, did not live in the Everglades, and had been forced to choose a migration into Florida or adhere to Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal policies. The Creeks of North West Florida were legislated to disappear into the fabric of an emerging white or black population. The 1852 law of the General Assembly represented the first Act of Extermination by the State of Florida and remained part of the State statutes until the federal Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964.
When the categorization of “Indian” as a race disappeared, the legal impact was a documentary void in the Tribe’s history of recognition by external sources. There are no documents written by observers from outside Muscogee Nation of Florida to list the Nation as an Indian community. No anthropologists visited the remote community of Bruce, which was best located by following the Choctawhatchee River or poor logging roads. Outsiders were not welcomed to stay in the area. Logging camps had to remain away from the Tribal Community. In essence, Muscogee Nation of Florida was a closed community system. While Muscogee Nation can easily document 6 of 7 mandatory criteria for federal recognition, it cannot meet the current interpretation of 25 CFR Part 8~1. 7 (a) which requires “identification by an external sources” until after the Civil Rights Act was passed.
At this time, in-house interpretation and regulatory application made by personnel of the Office of Federal Acknowledgment requires documentation marked ‘Indian’ for every deca,de from 1900 to current day with no consideration for state laws that prevent the criteria from being met. Consequently, the only Creek Tribe to be federally recognized under these regulations was achieved only by Senatorial intervention in 1983.
Historic documents generated inside the community itself provide ample evidence for the continuity of Muscogee Nation from 1890 to the present. Even though the Tribe was forced to acknowledge the new policies of the State of Florida and try to survive them, Muscogee Nation of Florida continued to function. It maintained its traditional form of leadership, subsistence type of living, and shared economics. Second cousin exchange marriage became a way to protect Indian bloodlines in the remote areas of the community.