Native and Indigenous Spirituality

The Lower Muskogee Creek Tribe hosts its annual Tama Intertribal Pow Wow at the Tama Tribal Grounds in Whigham, Georgia each October

Mekko Chebon Kernell welcomed students, staff, and faculty from the Emory Indigenous Language Path Working Group in March 2022 for a visit, conversation and lunch at the Hvlvpe Ceremonial Grounds in Hanna, Oklahoma. 

Emory University Land Acknowledgement

Emory University acknowledges the Muscogee (Creek) people who lived, worked, produced knowledge on, and nurtured the land where Emory’s Oxford and Atlanta campuses are now located. In 1821, fifteen years before Emory’s founding, the Muscogee were forced to relinquish this land. We recognize the sustained oppression, land dispossession, and involuntary removals of the Muscogee and Cherokee peoples from Georgia and the Southeast. Emory seeks to honor the Muscogee Nation and other Indigenous caretakers of this land by humbly seeking knowledge of their histories and committing to respectful stewardship of the land. (Emory University Board of Trustees, September 2021)

Additional Background

Emory University is located on the ancestral land of the Muscogee (Creek) people. The university was founded in 1836, during a period of sustained oppression, land dispossession, and forced removals of Muscogee and Ani’yunwi’ya (Cherokee) people from Georgia and what is now the southeastern United States. In 1821, the U.S. government dispossessed the Muscogee 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, Muscogee people from this area relocated to Indian Country (now Oklahoma), Arkansas, and Alabama. (Source:

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:

Nevertheless, the present-day Muscogee Nation has survived and is the one of the largest Native American tribes 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.

Emory OSRL Commitments

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: