In the midst of controversy, Poarch Creek Casino will open Tuesday
WETUMPKA, ALABAMA — On Tuesday, December 17, the 20-story new casino will open in Wetumpka, Alabama.
The new casino has been mired in controversy since leaders of the Poarch Creek Indian Tribe made the decision to build at Hickory Ground, a ceremonial place where ancestors were buried.
Construction was even halted in November 2012 briefly after several American Indian tribes, including the Five Civilied Tribes, opposed the new casino being erected at Hickory Ground.
Even with the opposition, the Poarch Creek Indian Tribe proceeded with its plans and the new gambling facility will open on Tuesday.
On Sunday afternoon, Dr. Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne/Muscogee), president of the Morning Star Institute, issued the following statement:
Join Oce’Vpoka, Hickory Ground, in observing December 17, 2013, as a Day of Mourning for Ancestors of the Oce Vpofv Cvko Rakko, Hickory Ground Ceremonial Ground and Tribal Town, and the Tulsa Muscogee, Muscogee Nation, near Wetumpka, Alabama.
The Poarch Band has set December 17 to open its multi-million dollar resort hotel and casino expansion. Poarch Band had alternative sites, but deliberately chose to build on top of our ceremonial ground, burials and historic site, the last Capitol of the Muscogee (Creek) Nations before our forced removal to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma).
We intend to observe December 17 in silence, prayer and good works, in contrast to the gambling and loud activities and ill will that will invade the hallowed ground of our Ancestors. Cemeteries and graveyards the world over have this in common: quietude and respect for the deceased. Our hallowed ground, Hickory Ground, will have the opposite above them.
We will observe the Day of Mourning in ways that will help us remember the ways of our Ancestors and will reassure their Spirits that we have not forgotten them. We ask others to take appropriate, dignified actions, such as to write or call members of the U.S. Congress (especially your own Representatives and Senators) and ask them to stop the Poarch Band from desecrating Muscogee Ancestors.
Hickory Ground and Muscogee (Creek) Nation have sued Poarch Band in federal district court in Alabama for violation of Muscogee and U.S. laws. Our complaint also runs against the federal agencies that have looked the other way whiles Porch Band has desecrated Hickory Ground.
We thank all our friends and allies for supporting us when we have most needed your support.
We thank you for joining us in observing December 17 as a Day of Mourning for Ancestors of the Oce Vpofa Cvko Rakko, Hickory Ground Ceremonial Ground and Tribal Town, and the Tulsa Muscogee, Muscogee Nation.
In 1967, Harjo began work that led to the establishment of the National Museum of the American Indian, where she served as a founding trustee. Her vast work in the area of repatriation laws and museum reform is unparalleled.