The Creeks, more properly called the Muscogees, the dominant Native Americans in this part of Georgia, received their more commonly used name from Charleston traders. The Muscogees had settled along the Ocmulgee River, then called Ochese Creek, to get away from the Spanish. By the time Europeans arrived in the area, the Creeks had organized into a confederacy of towns.
A large permanent Creek town, called an italwa, was surrounded by a number of smaller towns called talofas. Structures were built using interwoven branches plastered with clay placed on a rectangular frame of posts.
Each town had a chief, or mico. This individual ruled with the assistance of a council. He ruled more by persuasion than command. Since lineage in Creek culture was matrilineal, the mico was often the nephew, rather than the son, of the previous chief.
The roles of men and women in Creek culture were sharply defined. Women were in charge of agriculture, child-rearing, and other domestic chores. They worked the town’s fields, growing corn, beans, and squash known as the ‘Three Sisters.’ The men were often away from the town hunting. They also fished the local rivers, streams, and lakes using hook-and-line, spears, arrows, or traps.
The Green Corn Ceremony is a religious and social ceremony of a number of Native Americans. It was practiced in ancient times and is still practiced by some tribes today. The nature of this sacred ceremony varies greatly by tribe, but generally the ceremony is tied to the ripening of the corn crops. The ceremony is marked with dancing, feasting, and religious observations. Past transgressions were forgiven, except for murder.