Native American Cultural Center

Native American Cultural Center

Grant Year: 2016 | Focus Area: Arts & Culture | Grant Amount: $108,200 | Grant Status: Completed

Native American Cultural Center

The Santa Rosa County Creek Indian Tribe, Inc.

The Indian Removal Act of 1830 made it illegal to be an Indian east of the Mississippi River. The federal government sought to remove all Indians via the infamous
“Trail of Tears.” Those who were not removed were systematically hunted down, and thus were forced to stifle their language, heritage and culture. The Santa Rosa County Creek Indian Tribe, Inc. (the Tribe) are the descendants of those Creek Indians, purposed with reviving, preserving and teaching the language, heritage, and culture of the Creek People. The mission of the 1,156 Tribe members is to bring knowledge of the culture of Native American Indians to children, the community, and the world, via traditional events, educational programs, and the establishment of a Native American Cultural Center. In addition to hosting an annual traditional Pow Wow attended by thousands, the Tribe is sought out for speaking engagements and cultural demonstrations by community organizations such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast, Kiwanis Club and Lions Club. The Tribe owns 95 acres of Tribal Grounds, granting approximately one half mile of frontage on both sides of Pond Creek, and possessing infrastructure improvements that include road access, drainage, water, power , sewer and restroom facilities.

Project Description

For the past 26 years, the Tribe has endeavored to bring Native American culture to the community by utilizing those available teaching facilities such as tents, open air locations, museums, fairs, festivals, and school classrooms. The Tribe proposes to use IMPACT funds for the construction of a permanent Native American Cultural Center (the Center) that will provide a setting better suited for teaching about Native American Culture. A multi-purpose room, a covered area, an artifact museum and a genealogy resource center will be the focal points of the Center. All work will be performed by qualified contractors and skilled Tribal members will assist in the construction. Skill sets of some Tribe members, who will provide in-kind support, include licensed building contractors, electricians, welders, engineers, land surveyors, managers, doctors, bankers and bookkeepers. This in-kind support will leverage the IMPACT 100 funds to complete the project.

Community Impact

This Center will serve as a focal point for all things of the Native American culture and will provide public access to the more than 3,000 Native American artifacts in
the possession of the Tribe. The multi-purpose room and covered area will provide space for seminars and performances. Topics will range from history, heritage and culture of Native Americans to health and wellness. It will also provide both an indoor and outdoor space for demonstrations of Native American dancing, singing and drumming and other cultural demonstrations. They will be used for presentations and hands on learning of Native American crafts such as stick weaving, bow and arrow making, drum making, traditional clothing and jewelry making as well as the traditional use of herbs. The genealogy resource center complete with documents, books and other information amassed over many years will be made available to the public. These resources will be invaluable assistance in researching and documenting Native American ancestry. While small tribes in the area have organized to help preserve the Native American culture, not one possesses the membership, land, facilities and resources of the Tribe. The Native American Cultural Center will increase awareness of, and engender a greater appreciation and understanding of, the culture of Native Americans and their connection with the natural world. It is the hope of the Tribe that the greater impact will be a tolerance and sensitivity towards other peoples and their cultures. This will be born from the idea that education and understanding bring down barriers that cause division.