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This was a tribally sanctioned enterprise with most of the community members involved in either its manufacturing or its delivery.
In 1947, the Bureau of Indian Affairs made an announcement for a Land Claim Settlement that would affect the historic Creek Nation. The people of the Muscogee Nation of Florida were participants in this litigation through a supportive agreement with Creek Nation East of the Mississippi. Ultimately, the litigations required a suit be filed against Creek Nation of Oklahoma to prove the continuance of Southeastern Creek people. Designated representatives from this Tribe’s leaders were present in the halls of Congress when a determination was made in favor of Creek people.
The case was resolved in 1957 and the Southeastern Creeks were determined eligible to share, in this settlement. Payment letters from the Department of the Interior were not issued until 1971, years after the death of community leader J.J. Ward, who had worked for almost 25 years on behalf of the Creek people in Florida. The Docket 21 Letters provided legal documentation that finally reaffirmed the existence of Creek Indian people in Northwest Florida. But, it was a minority that the State of Florida was unprepared to deal with.
In 1974, the State of Florida created the Northwest Florida Creek Indian Council under Florida Statute 285 to deal with Creek Indian issues. Members of the leadership family of Muscogee Nation of Florida served on this Council, including: Mazie Rossell, Zera P. Denson, Donald Sharon, and Ann Denson Tucker. The State appointed council assisted the Creek people with elections to the formal structure of the Florida Tribe of Eastern Creek Indians in 1978, now known as the Muscogee Nation of Florida.
In 1986 the Senate and the House of Representatives for the State of Florida passed concurrent Resolutions that recognized the Florida Tribe of Eastern Creek Indians as the governing agent for Creeks in the State of Florida. During this same time, the Tribal government had cooperative agreements for repatriation in place with the Air Force, Navy, and the State of Florida. This agreement stayed in effect until NAGPRA prevented repatriation by non-federal Tribes. In other words, the Tribe no longer has the right to re-bury our dead.
Muscogee Nation of Florida History: