Last modified: 2010-11-06 by rick wyatt
Keywords: thlopthlocco creek | creek | oklahoma | native american |
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image by Donald Healy, 1 February 2008
map image by Peter Orenski based on input from Don Healy
Thlopthlocco Creek - Oklahoma
One of the four members of the Oklahoma Creek Confederacy is the Thlopthlocco Tribal Town based in Okemah, Oklahoma along with one of the other two tribal towns, the Kialegee. Like the Kialegee, the Thlopthlocco are headed by a tribal town king, the only two instances of a monarchical title being applied to the head of a Native Nation within the United States (REAI, 31-32).
© Donald Healy 2008
In many ways the flag of the Thlopthlocco Creek reminds the viewer of their cousins the Kialegee. The flag of the Thlopthlocco is dark red and bears a white circle in the center that contains the seal of the Tribal Town. Like the
Kialegee, the central element of the Thlopthlocco's seal is a crossed pair of Creek stickball sticks with the basket ends pointing upward. Between the two sticks is a black dot representing the Creek stickball ball. Both items allude to the Creek's creation of the sport hundreds of years ago.
Below the crossed sticks is a campfire which signifies the Sacred Fire from which villagers would take coals back to their homes so they could rekindle their own hearth fires. This ritual occurred at the end of the Green Corn Ceremony or Busk from the Creek word "boskita" meaning "to fast" (ENAT, 74-76). The Green Corn Ceremony was the most important of all the rituals amongst the Creek people. During the ceremony, women cleaned their homes and tools and men repaired the communal buildings like the Ceremonial House shown on the flag of the Kialegee. As part of the ceremony the hearth fires in each home were put out. The Creek people would drink the "Black Drink" to induce vomiting thus purifying their bodies and some would dance The Green Corn Dance.
The Sacred fire pictured on the flag would then be lit and a great feast would commence. The ceremony concluded with a communal bath again for purification. Thus the entire village was ready to begin anew, facing the coming year with all past wrongdoings (except murder) forgiven (Ibid..). Therefore, the inclusion of the Sacred Fire in the seal of Thlopthlocco can be seen as representing the beginnings of a new life for the Creek in Oklahoma after being evicted from their traditional homelands of Georgia and Alabama.
Around these central elements appears the name "Thlopthlocco" at the top of the seal and "Creek Tribal Town" around the bottom portion. All lettering appears in black. Hanging from the seal, turning it into a warrior's shield are four feathers in black and white. The four feathers fulfill the role of symbolizing the sacred number four, the four directions, natural elements, races of man, etc.
Below the "shield" is the Oklahoma town in which the Thlopthlocco are presently located, Okemah, OK and the date of the Thlopthlocco's reorganization in Indian Territory - "Est. 1834". Both the town name and the date are shown in white.
© Donald Healy 2008
information provided by Peter Orenski, 1 February 2008