History: Tribal identity connects to Muscogee town membership

"The Muscogee (Creek) Nation is a confederation of many clans (or towns) descended from an ancient people known as the Mississippian Mound Builders. These early Americans settled in the bottom lands of rivers that drained into the Mississippi River. When Europeans began to establish their American colonies, they gave the Muscogees the name “Creeks” because they built their towns along the banks of rivers and tributary creeks like their ancestors.

To further define the Muscogees they were referred to as Upper Creeks — those living along rivers from northwestern Georgia to central Alabama — and the Lower Creeks who lived further southeast.

The Creeks built their system of government around their towns. Each town had its own chief or king. The members of the town remained members even if they moved or intermarried with someone from another clan. Town membership was also hereditary and was passed down through the matrilineal system. If a mother was from Koweta town, for example, then all her children also belonged to Koweta town. When introducing themselves, Creeks would usually give their name, then their clan (also inherited from their mother) and then their town."

Get the Story:
Jonita Mullins / Three Rivers History: Tribal identity tied to town membership (The Muskogee Phoenix 5/27)

Join the Conversation