field notes ➤ Gary Robinson, 1983

❝ Like other Indian nations, the Mvskoke or Creek nation traces its roots far back into the mists of prehistoric times.

Our legends say that, in the beginning, the Mvskoke people were born out of the earth itself. They crawled up out of the ground, through a hole, like ants.

In those days, they lived in a far western land, beside tall mountains that reached the sky. They called the mountains, the backbone of the earth.

Then a strange fog descended upon the earth, sent by the Master of Breath, Hesaketvmesē.

The Mvskoke people could not see. They wandered around blindly, calling out to one another in fear. They drifted apart, and became lost. The whole people were separated into small groups, and the people in these groups stayed close to one another in fear of being entirely alone.

Finally, the Master had mercy on them. From the eastern edge of the world, where the sun rises, he began to blow away the fog. He blew and blew until the fog was completely gone. The people were joyful and sang a hymn of thanksgiving to the Master of Breath.

And in each group the people turned to one another and swore eternal brotherhood. They said that from then on these groups would be like large families. The members of each group would be as close to each other as brother and sister, father and son.

The group that was farthest east and first to see the sun praised the wind that had blown the fog away. They called themselves the wind family, or wind clan.

As the fog moved away from the other groups, they too gave themselves names. Each group chose the name of the first animal it saw. So they became the bear, the deer, the alligator, the raccoon, and the bird clans.

But some say the wind clan is the most important of all.

Our legends also tell us that, in ancient times, the Mvskoke migrated eastward toward the rising sun. They settled in the southeastern region of North America in what is now Alabama and Georgia.

There they established tribal towns along the rivers and streams that snake through the land. My people became successful farmers and hunters in those days. They built large ceremonial mound complexes at the center of the towns for religious ceremonies and council meetings.

Modern archaeologists have uncovered vast quantities of ornately designed artifacts from these locations. Engraved shells, copper plates, stone pipes, and other manufactured goods reveal a highly organized order of civilization.

Long before the white man came, the Mvskoke people had formed a powerful union of tribes or bands called the Mvskoke confederacy. At one time, their capital was located on the Okmulgee River in what is now Georgia, and representatives from each tribal town met in council there.

Agriculture, art, trade, and other activities of the civilization flourished. The annual green corn ceremony was held each summer in the town squares, and regular stickball games were played on the town ball fields.

Then, in 1540, Hernando de Soto, a Spanish explorer, and his army swept across the Mvskoke lands. It was the first time the Mvskoke had encountered este-hvtke, the white man, and things haven’t been the same since. ❞

Este Mvskoke (The Muscogee People)”
written by Gary Robinson
(MCN Communications Department, 1983)

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