Native American Spirituality

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The Lower Muskogee Creek Tribe hosts its annual Tama Intertribal Pow Wow at the Tama Tribal Grounds in Whigham, Georgia each October. The tribe is recognized as a legal entity within the State of Georgia and is a State-Recognized Tribe by the Georgia General Assembly. (Photo courtesy: Gwinnett Daily Post)


Native Peoples and Land Acknowledgement


Emory University is located on the ancestral land of the Mvskoke/Muscogee (Creek) people. The university was founded in 1836, during a period of sustained oppression, land dispossession, and forced removals of Mvskoke (Creek) and Ani’yunwi’ya (Cherokee) people from Georgia and what is now the southeastern United States. In 1821, the U.S. government dispossessed the Mvskoke (Creek) of the land that DeKalb county currently occupies, through the “First Treaty of Indian Springs,” purchasing their land for about 5 cents an acre. During this time, Mvskoke (Creek) people from this area relocated to Indian Country (now Oklahoma), Arkansas, and Alabama. (Source: https://scholarblogs.emory.edu/nae)


Throughout the 1830s, under President Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act, nearly 125,000 Native Americans living on millions of acres of land in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, and Florida--land that their ancestors had inhabited and cultivated for generations--were forcibly removed westward by white settlers wanting to grow cotton. This forced removal during which many people died became known as the Trail of Tears. (Source: https://www.history.com/topics/native-american-history/trail-of-tears)


Nevertheless, the present-day Muscogee (Creek) Nation has survived and is the fourth largest Native American tribe in the U.S. with over 86,000 citizens. The tribe includes prominent members such as Joy Harjo, the poet laureate of the United States.


The Emory University Office of Spiritual and Religious Life (OSRL) seeks to stand in solidarity with the Native People of this land and to build relationships with the descendants of these peoples and support their spirituality and wellbeing. To that end, a number of resources are listed below. Emory OSRL seeks to build education about and allyship with these peoples into our work. With others at Emory University, we celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Native American Heritage Month as part of a year-round commitment to these efforts. For more information, please contact: religiouslife@emory.edu.

 

Emory University Resources:


Emory University Native American and Indigenous Peoples Engagement website: https://scholarblogs.emory.edu/nae

Emory Native American Initiative: http://native.emory.edu/#intro-section

Emory Brittain Award Winner 2019 Klamath Henry:https://news.emory.edu/stories/2019/05/er_commencement_award_brittain_henry/campus.html

Documentary by Emory Professor Craig Womack and Steve Bransford: https://vimeo.com/260038272

Sustainability Initiatives : https://sustainability.emory.edu/current-and-prospective-students/

 

Atlanta and Georgia Resources:

Georgia Council on American Indian Concerns: https://www1.gadnr.org/caic/index.html

Georgia Annual Native American Festival and Pow Wow 2019: https://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/entertainment/stone-mountain-park-to-host-20th-annual-native-american-festival-pow-wow/article_5fabe858-ff3c-11e9-939a-474723a3a9c0.html

Atlanta History Center Native Lands exhibit: https://www.atlantahistorycenter.com/exhibitions/native-lands-indians-and-georgia

Resource on select Georgia Native American heritage sites: https://www.exploregeorgia.org/article/explore-native-american-heritage-in-northwest-georgia

American Library Association information on indigenous peoples of the State of Georgia: http://www.ala.org/aboutala/offices/muscogee-and-cherokee-tribes-georgia

More information on the Trail of Tears from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian: https://americanindian.si.edu/online-resources/trail-of-tears-removal


Additional Resources from the Emory University Carlos Museum:

Collections

Exhibitions

  • Threads of Time
  • Coiling Culture
  • Indigenous Beauty
  • Spider Woman to Horned Serpent
  • For I Am the Black Jaguar

Videos

Online SmARTy Pack

Recommended Reading