Muscogee Nation of Florida History:
Although the old ceremonies continued, the establishing of an acceptable church was used as a method to ensure the protection and survival of the Indian community. Handwritten church records document the names of community members who formed the church, the births and deaths of members, and the continued participation of Creeks in this institution from 1912 to present day. The records are still maintained in the same format. It is noted that the Alabama-Florida Conference of the Methodist Church recognizes the Bruce Methodist Church, established in 1912, as a Native American Church. The original Church rolls listed from 1912 to 1917 form the baseline document for membership in the Muscogee Nation of Florida.
Muscogee Nation of Florida maintained a traditional practice of leadership vested in a central male or female passed down from one tribal member to another or, in later years, elected by the tribal membership. Leadership was based on the ability to serve as a liaison between the tribal people and the non-Indian communities because of bilingual abilities and literacy. These qualities were vital to the survival of Muscogee Nation for the protection from further erosion of Creek identity and culture.
The leader maintained a precarious balance serving as a representative, a mediator, a negotiator, and an advocate for the rights and protection of the community. The Ward family provided the succession of leaders within Muscogee Nation of Florida throughout the twentieth century. The names of these leaders and their order of succession are well remembered by community members.
The communities and people of the Muscogee Nation continued to practice traditional form of government with its customs, medicine, language, hunting and fishing, and cooperative labor. During the early 20th century, the Tribe saw an increase in its membership. Men often maintained multiple households and households supported each other in a communal type living. By the late 1930s, the economics began to shift, which affected the Tribe’s indigenous area. Turpentine industries declined, as did logging. The Tribal community was faced with developing new methods to ensure economic survival. Liquor production filled this desperately needed void of revenue utilizing farming abilities and enabling the communities to locally produce crops for its creation such as corn, rice, and sugar cane.
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