The Creek Indian People of America were generalized as the Muscogee tribes that were located around the Tennessee and Alabama around the 1600s. What is evident when speaking of the Creek tribes of Indians is the persecution that they had undergone at the hands of the later day European settlers.
Most of the Muscogee population was decimated in the force migrations that took place in order to limit the influence and powers of this confederation. It could be concluded that the Muscogee people were adversely affected by the policies of the European settlers to limit the indigenous people to some localized regions as the typical settlements.
The Creek Indians were the most affected by these policies and what is noteworthy is the extent of losses that these people faced with each migration from one location to the other.
Due to the harsh situations prevailing at times, it was more of a pattern for the Muscogee Indians to intermarry with other groups of Native Americans to strengthen the ties between them. In effect, this reduced the ability to exert themselves when it came to issues which were more local to these natives compared to the other Indian groups.
The Civilization Plans of George Washington
Toward the end of the 1800s, there came about a particular program to make civilized citizens of the more indigenous Indian tribes. The Creek groupings of Indians were one of the first to have been considered as being cultured enough under the plan.
One of the prime targets of the system was to educate the local populations in the ways of the European settlers of the times. With the distinct history of the Muscogee bringing them into more predictable and settled systems, the settlers were somewhat successful in changing their ways and practices reasonably quickly.
While most of the indigenous people of America were nomads who relied on hunting to keep themselves going, the Creek tribes were more focused on farming techniques. Thus, it could be concluded that the Creek Indians more to agriculture than as hunters.
The Trail of Tears
Starting in the year 1838, the then United States government introduced a program to limit the extent of the native Indian populations to some localized regions or settlements. This was done with a view of not just containing their influence, but to subjugate them culturally as well. This practice leads to mass migrations around the times, and one of the most notable sufferers of the process was the Muscogee grouping of Indians.
The Trail of Tears was the descriptive term used to describe one of the well known migratory paths that came about around the times. This has to do with the massive loss of life and property that were brought about by the sheer harshness of the migratory paths. At the very end of the plan, the Creek tribes came to be located at the present day Oklahoma regions.
What is evident from historical findings is the kind of losses that the Muscogee faced both due to the harsh weather conditions and equally with the looting that took place after the shifting of established homes of the natives.
The Dietary Habits of the Indians
Quite unlike the typical Indian groups that relied a great deal on hunting game, the Muscogee Indians were noted for the large agricultural communities that they formed. Thus the predominant diets of this people were maize and beans that they cultivated on the farms. Hunting was practiced but only to a minimal extent.
The later practice of the Creek Indian groups included the domestication of mulch animals that included the oxen and cattle of the times. A very defining aspect of the domestication was the strong wild strains that were evident in the very animals, which helped them fight off disease rather successfully.
When it came to clothing the early tribal members, the use of breechcloths was predominant to the 1700s. It was the subsequent European influences that introduced to the natives more refined clothing materials.
The practice of using decorative headgear was also dominant and more so when the ceremonies and rituals were being carried out. There were distinct styles or clothing items that were used to lay out the standing of the individual in the Indian groups.
Symbols of High Importance
Many Native American tribes have symbols that represent different aspects of their culture, and the Creek tribe is no different. The Creek tribe, also known as the Muscogee, lived in the southeastern United States in the 18th and 19th centuries. They had a unique system of symbols that expressed their spiritual and cultural beliefs.
The most recognizable symbol associated with the Creek tribe is the “Little People,” also known as the “Seven Stars.” This symbol was often painted on homes and depicted in artwork. It is believed to represent the seven clans that made up the Creek tribe. Each clan was represented by a star and the seven stars were thought to be the guardians of the tribe.
Another meaningful symbol for the Creek tribe is the “Waving Feather.” This symbol is a feather with three points, two of which are curved. It is believed that this symbol represents the journey of life, with the two curved points representing the beginning and end of the journey and the straight point representing the path in between.
The “Three Sisters” is another prevalent symbol of the Creek tribe. It is a representation of the three plants that were grown together in the same plot of land to form a “three sisters garden.” These plants were corn, beans and squash, and they were considered sacred to the Creek people.
The “Water Beetle” is another symbol associated with the Creek tribe. It is believed to represent the power of the water and the importance of water in the daily life of the Creek people.
Finally, the “Tree of Life” is a symbol that is often seen in Creek art. It is believed to represent the connection between the physical and spiritual worlds.
These symbols were used by the Creek tribe to express their beliefs and values. They provide an insight into the culture of the Creek people and offer a glimpse into their rich history.
Relationship of the Muscogee with the Early Settlers
The early European settlers were quick to utilize the services of the Creek Indian tribes to further their interests in the region. Thus a number of warriors were being used as guides and trackers during the various campaigns of the times.
As did happen, the influences of the European settlers kept shifting before getting to take on strong defining characteristics with time. This saw the changing influences in the country with the French, the Dutch and the English establishing and losing control over their areas periodically.
With the Muscogee, it was possible for them to integrate with the foreigners easily as they had more or less a settled life which as in sync with the practices followed by the early Europeans as well. It was the Creek Indian tribes that were labeled as being civilized at an early stage of the resettlement programs.
When the American Revolution took place, the Muscogee were aligned more with the English powers, and this had its costs when the wars got over.
Religion was something that the European settlers used to control the indigenous tribes of the Americas. That most of the local groups of Indians did not practice a theist faith helped the settlers to exert considerable influences in quick time.
A Brief Study of the Indian Removal Act 1830
The Indian Removal Act of 1830 which was passed into law by President Andrew Jackson was a turning point in the manner native and indigenous people, and tribes of the United States got to be handled. It sought to give institutional sanction to the view that the Indian communities needed to be seen differently and as of lesser ability.
The act brought to focus the differences in culture and practices between the native people of the Americas and the more recent European settlers. The idea that the white settlers were far superior to the natives was stressed with the passing of the Act.
The intention of the Act of 1830 was to segregate out the Indian tribes and to restrict their activities to confined spaces as the reservations. There were advantages promised to those nations who voluntarily gave up the ancient territories and agreed to be compensated by the provision of land in the newly established settlements.
Over time, the more significant efforts to implement the act in other areas with sizable indigenous populations were in essence based on the Indian Removal Act of 1830.
It could be argued that without this Act of 1830, the Trail of Tears would never have taken place. And if a proper study of societal practices in the United States was attempted, then the Indian Removal Act has to be regarded as the first federal racial profiling regulation adopted by the young U.S. Government.
How European Settlers Changed the Indian Way of Life
There were broad changes taking place in the society of the times in America, which could be effectively be traced to the European influence. This happened in all spheres of activities including health, lifestyles and even the religious beliefs.
Religion: As opposed to the European concept of a god that controlled everything, the Indian people had spirits for every occasion and need. The idea of a singular force simply did not exist, nor the worship of a single thought.
But more importantly, the Indian belief system involved better integration with nature and its process than any attempt to influence the course of nature.
Most European settlers used religion conveniently to further their aim of controlling the indigenous people that were living in the ancient land. That most European township of the days had a tremendous Christian background only contributed to the faster evangelization of the Indian people. It was just that being Christian was considered progressive and civilized and not otherwise.
Health: Before the arrival of the European settlers, a large number of diseases like smallpox did not have a presence in the native people. The changing lifestyles as with the more significant contact with another culture brought disease and illnesses to the native Indians.
Faced with the newer health issues, the more traditional approaches to dealing with ill health were found to be wanting. This led to a situation that the native Indians were dependant on the doctors of the white townships for the care and restoration of health.
Clothing: The Indian was traditionally dressed in the breechcloth. This was fashioned out of leather pieces or even the outer bark of trees. But the European settlers introduced the concept of covering up the body which was not quite the culture of the majority of the Indians.
The Muscogee was influenced by the new materials like cotton cloth and indeed the clothes styled by the settling Europeans. Interestingly, the close collaboration of the tribal people as workers and aides to the European powers only hastened the adoption of the new modes of dressing.
The More Significant Issue of Land Occupation
In the traditional cultures across the world, it was the large landlords who more or less decided what was permissible and what was not. It is this mentality that brought the native people right across the world into conflict with the more recent settler communities. Who controls the most land, in effect, got to decide what was allowed and what was not.
As opposed to a more industrialized setting of the present day society, the older cultures depended more on agriculture. Thus, it soon became evident that it was only possible to prosper if there were large tracts of lands to cultivate.
It is this view that brought the European settlers into conflict with the indigenous cultures of the land like the Creek Indian tribe. Political power became easier to exercise if the ruling class had large land banks under them.