Category Archives: Mvskoke Creek NDN

Native American Books: Reading List

Books about indigenous culture, religion and history. These are definitely worth checking out, for natives and non-natives. This will be an ongoing list, because I am always sniffing out new books and I read a lot.

If You Only Read a Few, Read These

  • Do All Indians Live in Tipis? Questions and Answers from the National Museum of the American Indian by the Smithsonian
  • An Indigenous People’s History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
  • Neither Wolf Nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder by Kent Nerburn
  • Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto by Vine Deloria Jr.

 

Generally Awesome-Religion, Culture and History of Indigenous Peoples

(Not specific to any one tribe)

  • 100 Native Americans Who Shaped History by Bonnie Juettner
  • God is Red: A Native View on Religion by Vine Deloria Jr.
  • The Wolf at Twilight: An Indian Elder’s Journey Through a Land of Ghosts and Shadows by Kent Nerburn
  • Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown
  • The World We Used to Live In: Remembering the Powers of the Medicine Men by Vine Deloria Jr.
  • Original Instructions: Indigenous Teachings for a Sustainable Future by Melissa K. Nelson
  • 100+ Native American Women Who Changed the World by K.B. Schaller
  • The Circle is Sacred: A Medicine Book for Women by Scout Cloud Lee
  • The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions by Paula Gunn Allen
  • Grandmothers of the Light: A Medicine Woman’s Sourcebook by Paula Gunn Allen
  • Two Spirit People: American Indian Lesbian Women and Gay Men by Lester Brown
  • American Indians in WWI: At Home and at War by Thomas Britton
  • Uneven Ground: American Indian Sovereignty and Federal Law by David Wilkins
  • National Geographic on Indians of the Americas by Matthew Stirling
  • First Peoples: A Documentary Survey of American Indian History by Colin Calloway
  • Indian Herbology of North America by Alma Hutchens
  • Sacred Plant Medicine: The Wisdom in Native American Herbalism by Stephen Harrod Buhner
  • How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine and Crafts by Frances Densmore
  • Myths and Tales of the Southeastern Indians by John Swanton
  • Native American Stories by Michael Caduto and Joseph Bruchac

Specifically Awesome

(Focuses on a Particular Tribe)

  • A Sacred Path: The Way of the Muscogee Creeks by Jean and Joyotpaul Chaudhuri (Mvskoke)
  • Creation Myths and Legends of the Creek Indians by Bill Grantham (Mvskoke)
  • Creek Religion and Medicine by John Swanton (Mvskoke)
  • Creek Indian Medicine Ways: The Enduring Power of Mvskoke Religion by David Lewis Jr. (Mvskoke)
  • The Wind is My Mother: The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman by Bear Heart (Mvskoke)
  • Native Plants Native Healing: Traditional Muskogee Way by Tis Mal Crow (Mvskoke)
  • Totkv Mocvse/New Fire: Creek Folktales by Earnest Gouge (Mvskoke)
  • The Creeks by Michael Green (Mvskoke)
  • The Cherokee Herbal: Native Plant Medicine from the Four Directions by J. T. Garrett (Tsalagi)
  • The Scalpel and the Silver Bear: The First Navajo Woman Surgeon Combines Western Medicine and Traditional Healing by Lori Arviso Alvord (Dine)
  • Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People by Elizabeth Fenn (Nueta)
  • Dreams and Thunder: Stories, Poems and the Sun Dance Opera by Zitkala-Sa (Yankton Sioux)
  • Uprising: The Pueblo Indians and the First American War for Religious Freedom by Jake Pace (Pueblo)
  • Black Elk Speaks: The Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux (Oglala Sioux)

Crazy Brave by Joy Harjo

Crazy Brave

This is a book that I have reread multiple times. Joy Harjo is like the voice in my heart that I never knew I had. This book recounts her life growing up as a Muscogee in Oklahoma (just like me!) through her poetry. She paints pictures with her words, describing different events in her life that changed her and shaped her. She uses many poems from her other books, as well as some new ones, and fits them in with stories about her journey from Oklahoma to Arizona for school.

I think I would go as far as to say that this is like a combined memoir and poetry anthology, because even when she is just talking about her life, it sounds like a poem. She had a very hard life growing up and yet her poetry had become renowned as some of the most well known Native American poetry ever written. That must make her so proud. She had been writing poetry since before I was even born.

I read this book when I am sad, or when I need to feel some sense of purpose. Because it gives you that. This book has a power and life all it’s own and it challenges you to take the rough patches in your life and make them into something beautiful, to learn from them and to move forward with your head held high. She is an incredible poet and often writes historical poems about the Trail of Tears and life as a Muscogee native. She often writes about music and how it is like the breath and the heartbeat of our people. I have so much respect for her, because she puts into words the way I feel when my people stomp dance at pow wows, and I never thought I would have words for that feeling.

I highly recommend ALL of her work to any Natives out there. We need to read these things. We need to know more about where we came from and the traditions of our people. I also recommend her work to any non-natives as well, because everyone should be able to appreciate and admire a culture, even from afar. Her writing is so beautiful and haunting. Everyone should read it. It is truly amazing.

Buy it here!

A Brief Timeline of Mvskoke Historical Events

And I do mean brief.

10,000 BCE: First known evidence of Native Americans living in the Southern US.

1000 BCE: The Woodland period, evidence of horticulture and pottery developed.

800 CE: Mississippian Civilization emerges, known for mound building and complex cities.

1500 CE: Mississippian culture has disbanded and specific location oriented tribes form.

Original Mvskoke territories

1513: First known European contact with the Mvskoke, when Juan Ponce de Leon landed in Florida.

1526: Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón lands in South Carolina and makes contact with both the Mvskoke and Cherokee tribes.

1539: de Soto arrives and executes 200 natives. Known as the Napituca Massacre.

1539-1543: Hernando de Soto’s cruel invasion of Mvskoke territory.  Introduces Smallpox, which wipes out 90% of the original native population, as well as slaughters several thousand native people he came across during his invasion.

1596: de Soto’s example of massacre and enslavement of the Native peoples takes off and the Indian Slave Trade becomes more prominent.

1599: Juan de Onate massacres 800 in the Acoma Massacres of January 1599.

1670: English Traders form Charles Town in Carolina. They begin to push the Cherokee south.

1704: 1000 Apalachee natives killed and 2000 enslaved.

1715: Cherokee mass murder of Creek mission at Tugalo. Creeks begin killing traders.

1754: Sided with the British in French and Indian War

1763: Forced to Cede the Eastern territories.

1778: Sided with the British in Revolutionary war.

1813-1814: Red Stick War/Creek Civil War. Over 3000 dead.

1814: Lower Creeks broke away and formed the Seminole tribe.

1821: Treaty of Indian Springs ceded 5 million acres in Alabama.

1825: Second Treaty of Indian Springs ceded the last of the Lower Creek lands.

1826: Treaty of Washington, Muscogee confined to a small strip of land in Alabama.

1830: The tyrant Andrew Jackson passed and signed the Indian Removal Act.

1832: Muscogee forced to cede last of their lands east of Mississippi.

1834-1838: Trail of Tears, Tens of thousands of natives die.

1838: Jackson sends 7,000 troops to force the remaining Muscogee and Cherokee to relocate to Oklahoma. 20,000 Muscogee people were removed.

1861: Lower Creeks and Seminoles side with the south in the Civil War, while Upper Creeks side with the north.

1866: Slavery Abolished, new government established in new Muscogee territory, Okmulgee made the capitol.

1867: New Muscogee constitution ratified.

1898: Congress passes Curtis Act, which dismantled all tribal governments at an attempt at further assimilation, and passed the Dawes Allotment act which broke up tribal lands into family allotments and required all Muscogees by blood and Muscogee Freedman to register on the Dawes Roll. The Muscogee lost over 3.2 million acres in land during this time, over half the original promised land.

1907: Oklahoma approved for statehood.

1924: Native Americans are recognized as citizens of the United States

1936: Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act, many Muscogee tribal towns reform their own governments and become federally recognized.

1970: Muscogee Creek Nation becomes federally recognized, and officially reorganizes its government as a whole.

1971: Muscogee people are allowed to vote for and freely elect their own chief without presidential approval for the first time in a century.

1979: Muscogee tribe ratifies new constitution to replace the dismantled constitution from 1898.

2004: Muscogee Creek tribe founds their Tribal College.

2016: Muscogee Creek tribe passes a resolution to support the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. 100 tribes stand together united against the ‘black snake’.

 

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You are not "Honoring" us. You are Hurting us. 

Today I heard that the Coweta public schools made a horrificly racist homecoming float. I didn’t believe just how racist it was until I saw it myself on the news.


I was so disgusted that I nearly vomited.

My hometown is the ‘Catoosa Indians’. And in Tulsa, the Union Public schools is the ‘R*dskins’. Both are racial slurs.

Now I’ve openly displayed my disgust of these mascots because they reinforce racist stereotypes, contribute to further cultural genocide, and teach children that racism, hatred, appropriation and annihilation of a race is acceptable, along with telling kids it’s okay to objectify and fetishize an entire group of unique cultures and peoples. 

It’s not okay. It’s unacceptable. But as a young adult in a world of middle aged white people who refuse to listen to me, an actual native person, it’s really hard to make a change. But this recent development sent me over the edge. I did what little thing I could to try to make a difference.

So, I’ve created a petition to ban all Native American mascots in Oklahoma. Other states have done it successfully and good things have come out of it. One would think that ‘Indian Territory’ would have been one of those states. And while Oklahoma City has passed legislations and ordinances to make changes, and have made positive changes, the rest of Oklahoma sits on its racism with an extreme amount of appropriative ignorance.

These racist mascots do not promote peace, they promote hatred and violence towards indigenous peoples. You are not honoring our cultures, you are mocking them and offending us. 

It’s time to change the mascots, guys.

If you are reading this, thank you so much for reading my blog. Please consider offering your support to the indigenous people of Oklahoma who are so desperately trying to preserve our traditions and cultures and sign the petition here.

Conversational Mvskoke Phrases

Another ongoing list! I will add these as I learn/gather them! 😀 Format is Mvskoke word, pronunciation, English translation.

General//

Hensci (Hen-s-j-eh): Hello

Eskonko? (Isd-oh-n-go): How are you?

Estonkes Os. (Isd-oh-n-ges Oh-s): I am fine.

Mvto (Maw-doh): Thank you, I am grateful

Cehecvres (Zee-hee-ja-hl-es): Bye, See you later, I’ll see you again

Enka (In-gah): Yes, Okay, Used in place of ‘you’re welcome’ no phrase for that

Monks (Mo-ngs): No

Naket Cehocefkvte? (Nah-get – Je-ho-jef-ka-deh): What is your name?

 

Health//

Ce cvfek ne te? (Ze-za-fek-ne-de?): How do you feel?

Cv cvfeknet os. (Za-za-fek-ne-dos): I feel fine.

Cv cvfeknekot os. (Za-za-fek-ne-ko-dos): I do not feel good.

Vm oniyvs. (Aw-m-on-ai-yas): Tell me..

Cellvyetv (Zeh-lai-ye-dah): Touch

Celvye kot (Ze-lai-ye-ko-t): Don’t touch

Heleswv (He-le-shwa): Medicine

Heleswv Pvpvs. (He-le-shwa-Ba-ba-s): Take medicine.

Heleswv pvpet ce towv? (He-le-shwa-ba-bet-zeh-do-wah): Are you taking medicine?

Centake te? (Zen-da-ke-de?): Feel better?

 

Weather//

Fettv estowe towv (Fet-da-es-do-we-do-wah): How is is outside?

Nettv hereose tos (Net-da-he-hle-oh-se-dos): The day is beautiful/It’s beautiful today

Fettv hereko tos. (Fet-da-he-hle-ko-dos): It is bad outside.

Lekothe tos. (Le-ko-t-heh-dos): It is warm.

Kvsappe tos. (Ka-saw-beh-dos): It is cold.

Hiye tos. (Hai-yeh-dos): It is hot.

Hotvle tos. (Ho-da-leh-dos): It is windy

Hetute nerke tos. (Heh-do-de-ne-hl-ke-dos): It is hailing.

Oske tos. (Oh-s-keh-dos): It is raining.

Vtokyehatte tos. (Aw-do-k-yeh-hawt-de-dos) There is lightning.

Tenetke tos. (Tah-neh-t-ke-dos): There is thunder.

 

Food//

Cvlvwes (Za-la-wes): I am hungry

Cvwvnkes (Za-wa-n-kes): I am thirsty

Cvlvwekot os. (Za-la-we-kot-oh-s): I am not hungry

Cvwvnkekot os (Za-wa-n-ke-ko-dos): I am not thirsty

Vmes.. (Aw-meh-s): Give me…

Custake vsompv les. (Zu-sta-keh-aw-som-pa-les): Give me some eggs.

Cvyvces… (Za-ya-jes): I want…

Owv cvyvces. (Oh-wah-za-ya-ges): I want water.

Hompvkets (Ho-m-pa-ge-ds): Let’s eat!

Hompis (Ho-m-bes): I am eating.

Homipis (Ho-meh-bes): I ate.

Hompvhanis (Ho-m-beh-ha-nes): I  am going to eat.

Eskis (Es-kes): I am drinking

Esikis (Es-eh-kes): I drank.

Eskvhanis (Es-ka-ha-nes): I am going to drink.

Naken hompecka? (Na-gen-ho-m-bez-ka?): What are you eating?

Vcen hompis. (Ah-zen-ho-m-bes): I am eating corn.

Naken eskecka? (Na-gen-es-kez-ga?): What are you drinking?

Owvn eskis. (Ow-en-es-kes): I am drinking water.

Hompetvt heremaget os. (Ho-m-be-dah-he-re-ma-ge-dos): The food is very good!

Hompetvt herekot os. (Ho-m-be-dah-he-re-ko-dos): The food is bad.

Hompetvt estonkot os. (Ho-m-be-dah-es-don-ko-dos): The food is alright.

 

Commands//

Letkv (Let-kuh): Run

Taskv (Da-s-kuh): Jump

Yvhikv (Ya-he-gah): Sing

Likv (Lai-gah): Sit

Huerv (Wei-kla): Stand

Wakvs (Wah-kuh-s): Lie down

Opvnkv (Oh-ban-ga): Dance

Yvkvpv (Ya-ga-ba): Walk

Hompv (Ho-m-ba): Eat

Estv (Es-kah): Drink

Vkopvnv (Aw-ko-ba-nuh): Play

Hvtece (Ha-de-zeh): Wait!

Lvpecicv (La-be-ze-zah): Hurry up! (singular)

Lvpecicvks (La-be-ze-za-ks): Hurry up! (plural)

Vte (Aw-deh): Come.

Wikvs (Wai-kas): Quit

Mapohicv (Maw-bo-he-za): Listen

Hece (Heh-zeh): See

Makv (Ma-guh): Say it!

 

Hygiene//

Cenute okksov (Ze-no-de-ok-ko-suh: Brush your teeth.

Cetorofv okkosv (Ze-do-hlo-fah-ok-ko-suh): Wash your face.

Cenv okkosv. (Ze-nah ok-ko-suh): Wash your body.

Cenke okkosv. (Ze-n-ke-ok-ko-suh): Wash your hands.

Cekisse kasvs. (Ze-keh-see-ka-suh-s): Comb your hair.

 

Mvskoke Creek Masterpost

This will be an ongoing, organized collection of all my posts regarding the Mvskoke people. Please remember this is just for educational purposes, unless you are also Mvskoke. I will be adding on to this list with quotations, informative posts and new links regularly.

General Information//

 

Mvskoke Culture and History//

 

Mvskoke Language//

 

Mvskoke Religion and Medicine//

 

 

Good Books to Read//

 

 

 

 

The Mvskoke and Conservation

On Hunting, as recounted by Mvskoke author Bear Heart:

“So the animals told us how to cure the illnesses and allowed us to hunt them because they knew that we were not killing them for sport; our need was to feed hungry people, and we used every part of the animal for our survival. As long as we kept our word, no sickness came.

And that’s why our children were taught when they went out to hunt: “Never kill out of anger, nor for sport to see how many animals you can kill. Take just enough for survival and always be respectful of the four-leggeds. If you must kill, present an offering and talk to the animal, explaining, ‘I need you for my family’.”

Children are not allowed to hunt until they become skilled with their weapons. We were taught the anatomical structure of each animal and exactly where to hit so it would die quickly and not suffer more than it had to. When we brought back the kill, even that was a ceremony. We gave an offering to the animal, honoring it and explaining why we took its life.

Young boys were taught never to eat their first kill–they were to give it to an elder. If you killed and ate it yourself, that’s about all you’d be able to do–you would not become a great hunter because you weren’t showing much respect for the animal you killed. But if you killed and made a sacrifice, giving that meat to others, then the motive for taking that life was based on generosity and respect. Those were the traits of a good hunter.”

 

On Taking Things from the Earth, as recounted by Mvskoke author Bear Heart:

“All Native American ceremonies reflect our respect for the earth–it is part of our daily way of life. Even today, in our repect for the land, if Native people are going to take something from it, be it herbs, a stone or earth itself, we always give an offering, usually tobacco, in return. Then we gently take that herb or stone–because this is the face of our Mother Earth that we’re marring–and we pray that we will use it in a good manner.

All tribes have their own way of giving thanks to our Mother Earth for the things that she gives us, Everything we use in life comes from the earth, even the ingredients for the medicine that heals us when we are sick and injured.When we give thanks it’s not only to the earth and the plant life–we’re going beyond that to the Great Power who makes all things possible. That’s who we are really addressing and ackowledging–the Creator and all that they have provided for us. That’s how Native people show their respect for the earth.

My people we told a long time ago, “The rivers and streams are the veins of the universe. They’re your lifeline, take care of them.” Today it’s very hard to find good clean water anymore.”

 

On Keeping the Land Sacred by Mvskoke author, Bear Heart:

“Los Angeles is called the “Land of Sunshine” but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a clear sky in the California area. What happened? It’s the man-made things we pot on this planet that dim our view of the actual beauty that exists.

How does the ozone layer affect us? The hole in the ozone layer affects a one-cell organism that grows in the northern waters. When it begins to die out, that death breeds other deaths, including plant life that feeds the fish, on up to the whale. They will be gone in time. Everything on the earth is interdependent.

Ten thousand pounds of junk mail are sent out every year. If 100,000 people refused junk mail 150,000 trees would be saved. Trees hold soil together, and now their numbers are dwindling.

So often money distorts values. The Black Hills of South Dakota contain minerals that have great monetary value. Mining companies want to mine there, yet the Lakota elders view the mountains as sacred, just as the Vatican is a sacred place for the Catholic people. Many great leaders went to the Black Hills and fasted on vision quests. It’s sacred land and the elders want it to remain that way.

The Black Hills were claimed by the United States government over one hundred years ago, but the courts recently ruled that no compensation was ever given to the Indian people for the taking of the Black Hills, so until compensation is given, the United States has no legal claim over it. The government now wants to reimburse the Lakota for the Black Hills so it will have valid ownership and can then turn around and sell or lease the land to the mining companies. The elders don’t want compensation–they want the land returned. It’s still unresolved today. Can you imagine tearing down the Vatican to mine for uranium. Yet that’s what these mining companies are asking when they want to buy the Black Hills.

We were told to respect the land. Each blade of grass, every leaf, even one pine needle, is trying to filter out some of the pollution that we cause. All of these things help make air breathable and more comfortable for us, yet modern society seems to go along without much regard to them.

Until we get back in touch and in tune with nature, we’re destroying ourselves.

Mvskoke Elders

A very beautiful account of how Mvskoke children were taught to treat their elders

by  Bear Heart:

“If an elder came to the house, we immediately offered him a chair. Even though we might have been short on food, the first thing we did was prepare a meal for him. If we had nothing to eat, we would at least offer them him some water.Maybe he was carrying a walking stick or hung his hat on the chair–the children were never to put on that floppy hat, make a horse out of that stick, or play around as kids usually do. If that cane and hat belonged to the old man, we didn’t touch them, didn’t even think about them. In that way they told us to respect the old man’s belongings.

My parents told me, “When someone is talking, whether they’re old people or not, children are not to butt in. You wait until they get through and then you can speak. If you see an old man coming along the pathway and there’s room for only one person, stand aside and let him go by, don’t make the old one go around you. If you see him sitting out on a hot day, don’t ask, “Grampa, are you thirsty?” Just go ahead and get him some water, saying, “Here, Grampa. Have some water.” He’s going to thank you, and chances are, he’s going to bless you. But don’t do it for that. Do it out of respect for your elders.”

When you have respect for the elders, it extends to everything else, including all of nature and its life forms.”

The Spanish Invasions

As recounted by Mvskoke authors Jean and Jhoyatpaul Chaudhuri:

“The first significant European threat were the Spanish, who came in waves, Juan Ponce de Leon arrived in 1513 and returned later to engage in conflict with the Calusas, Timucuas, and others. He was followed by a series of conquistadors, Diego Miruelo met the Calusas in 1516, and a year later, Hernandez de Cordoba had contact with the Southeast Indians. Then came the journey of Hernando de Soto from 1539 to 1543. De Soto’s wave of terror in Creek country, complete with ‘monster horses, helmeted harquebusmen, and musketeers’ was extensive. Indians were either massacred when they resisted or enslaved as porters (women were forced to become concubines). In one village alone, de Soto’s people roasted and ate the entire dog population without the Creek’s consent. In the corners of Creek minds, there flow rivers and lakes of blood, devastated cornfields and homes, enslaved men and raped women.

But the search for gold and attempts and Spanish settlement ended in bloody confrontations. In 1565 Pedro Menedez de Ariles arrives with 1500 soldiers and settlers planning to set up a Spanish colony in Saint Augustine. The people were treated hospitably by a band of Timucuas, who accommodated the settlers in their large roundhouse. Soon, de Ariles tried to tale over the roundhouse and initiated armed conflict with his hosts. The surviving Timucuas, as was culturally appropriate, later burned the polluted roundhouse. The Spanish proceeded to build another fort in its place.

Spanish missionaries followed the spread of Spanish conquistadors. These people began to impose their religious values on the Creeks and Seminoles. The weakened role of Creek and Seminole women was one of the results of the Spanish sword and cross. Spirited women were carried off by soldiers and Spanish religion imposed its biased conceptions of modesty on women’s roles and dress. “

The Mvskoke and the Boarding Schools

As recounted by Mvskoke author, Bear Heart,

“Even after we were settled, that was not the end of our problems. Our children were taken from their parents and forced to go to boarding school, where they were not allowed to speak their native tongues–they had to speak English. They boarding school was a government school, so they had to march to and from class, make up their beds, do everything as if it were a military camp. This was forced upon our young children. Back then Native people took pride in their long hair, but the children had to have their hair cut short. Sometimes the administrators would just put a bowl over a child’s head and cut around it, then they would laugh at the child.

Those are the things that we endued. And yet today in our ceremonies, many of our people still pray for all mankind, whether they be black, yellow, red, or white. How is it possible, with a background like that among our people, to put out such love