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Kialegee Tribal Town

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Title: Kialegee Tribal Town  
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Subject: Muscogee people, Wetumka, Oklahoma, Five Civilized Tribes, Classification of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Blood quantum laws
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Kialegee Tribal Town

The Kialegee Tribal Town is a federally recognized Native American tribe in Oklahoma, as well as a traditional township within the Muscogee Creek Confederacy. Tribal members pride themselves on retaining their traditions and many speak their indigenous language, the Muscogee language.

The name "Kialegee" comes from the Muscogee word, eka-lache, meaning "head left."[1]

Government

The Kialegee Tribal Town is headquartered in Wetumka, Oklahoma. Of 439 enrolled tribal members, 429 live within the state of Oklahoma. Its tribal jurisdictional area falls within Hughes, McIntosh, Okfuskee counties.[2] The tribe's elected miko or chief is Tiger Hobia, who serves a two-year term. Hobia succeeds Jennie Lillard.[3]

Enrollment in the tribe at its establishment required an individual to be at half to full blood Muscogee Creek and one-half to full blood Indian of any other tribe.[4] Enrollment follows matrilineal descent.[5] Any descendant of a female Kialegee tribal member is automatically eligible for tribal membership, while spouses of Kialegee tribal members may petition for membership. In special circumstances, any full-blood Indian may petition the tribe for enrollment as an "Adopted Member."[4]

They operate their own tribal courts, as well as an environmental educational program for youth, the Kialegee Tribal Town's Environmental "Kub" Program.[2]

Culture

Town members and visitors celebrate the annual Kialegee Nettv (Day), a gathering that celebrates the town's history and culture.[6]

History

Kialegee emerged as an independent town from a larger Creek town, Tuckabatche,[5] located along rivers in what is now Alabama. Before removal, the Muscogee Confederacy included about 50 towns. Kialegee was based on a matrilineal system, with status through the mother's clan. It was an agrarian community. Women and children grew crops, while men hunted for game.[7]

On June 29, 1796 leaders from Kialegee signed a peace treaty with the United States. Townspeople joined the Red Stick Upper Creeks in the Creek Civil War. In 1813, US troops burned the town. In 1814, 1818, 1825, and 1826, Kialegee representatives signed treaties with the United States. Finally 166 families of Kialegee were forced to relocate to Indian Territory in 1835 under the Indian Removal Act.[8]

The tribe settled south of what would become Henryetta, Oklahoma.[5] They maintained a ceremonial ground and played stick ball against the Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town. Their ground was put to sleep in 1912 when ethnologist John R. Swanton visited the town. He recorded that Kialegee was a Red Town or community of warriors.[6]

After the passage of the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act in 1936, the US federal government offered each of the Muscogee Creek tribal towns the opportunity to enroll as an individual tribe . Of more than 40 towns, only three accepted: Kialegee, Thlopthlocco, and the Alabama-Quassarte.[5]

The tribe ratified its constitution and by-laws on June 12, 1941.[4] The tribe is governed by a miko or town king.[5] Additional officers are the First Warrior, Second Warrior, Secretary, and Treasurer.[4]

The first tribal headquarters was the home of Martin Givens.[4]

Tribal flag

The flag of the tribe contains a sky blue circle, featuring a pair of stickball sticks, used in the traditional game still played at ceremonial grounds today. The black cross at the top represents the Christian religion. To the left is a hollowed log and beater, which women used to grind corn meal, central to Muscogee diets. At the bottom is a ceremonial lodge with a rounded bark roof, sitting on a mound. This lodge was the center of the tribal town for religious and civic gatherings and also a shelter for the needy. The mound reflects the Mississippian culture heritage of modern Muscogee people. The bald eagle at the right is a sacred animal, featured in many tribal stories.[9]

Economic development

The Kialegee Etvlwv Business Committee operates a daycare, gas station, and smoke shop. Kialegee Tribal Town also operates its own housing division. In 2008, its annual tribal economic impact was $1,017,684.[2]

Kialegee Tribal Town has begun preparing land for a new casino in Broken Arrow; however, the National Indian Gaming Commission is reviewing the legality of the project, which has faced significant local opposition.[10]

Notes

References

  • Clark, C. Blue. Indian Tribes of Oklahoma: A Guide. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-8061-4060-5.

External links

Indigenous peoples of North America portal
  • Kialegee Tribal Town, Oklahoma Historical Society article
  • Constitution and By-Laws of the Kialegee Tribal Town, Oklahoma
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