Friday, May 15, 2009

Creek Council Oak Tree


This historic old tree has its own little corner park.


This Burr Oak was on this site in 1836 when the Tulsa-Lochapoka clan of Creek Indians built a fire here and scattered the ashes brought from their last campfire in Alabama.


Acorns from a Burr Oak tree. These are the largest acorns of any oak tree.

The Creek Council Tree, a mature burr oak, marks the traditional "busk ground" chosen in 1836 by the Tulsa-Lochapoka clan of Creek Indians. In late 1834, they had begun their involuntary migration from Alabama under the control of the U.S. Government. It was a slow and painful trek; of the original group of 630, 161 died in route.

Their 1836 arrival was marked with a solemn and traditional ceremony. A "busk" site was chosen on a low hill overlooking the Arkansas River. Here, according to their traditions, they deposited ashes brought over the trail from their last fires in Alabama. The Tulsa-Lochapoka, a political division of the Creek Nation, established their "town." As late as 1896, the Lochapoka gathered here for ceremonies, feasts, and games.

The site was probably not used by the Indians after about 1900. Gradually it became a solid residential area for the growing city of Tulsa. The Creek Council Tree itself, however, survived. The oak, standing in its small, well-landscaped city park, serves as a meaningful memorial to the proud Indian tribe that brought law and order to a new homeland 173 years ago. I know of nothing in Tulsa history that is any older than this.

The Creek Council Tree was listed in the National Register on September 29, 1976. It was listed under National Register Criteria A, and its NRIS number is 76001576.

4 comments:

Seraphine said... [Reply to comment]

such a sad history.

Tulsa Gentleman said... [Reply to comment]

Not a proud period of our history.

Cousin Glenda said... [Reply to comment]

Didn't know about this beautiful tree... and I used to live in Tulsa! I've been reading several books on the Cherokee, particularly the politics leading up to "the removal", i.e. Trail of Tears. We have a proud heritage

Tulsa Gentleman said... [Reply to comment]

Glenda - It would be easy not to notice the council oak. It sits at 18th and Cheyenne just on the edge of the downtown area. There was a story about it several years ago that someone vandalized it in some way. There was concern for the tree but the tree shrugged it off.

The acorns are from a Burr Oak, but not the council tree. My son David has a massive Burr Oak in his yard and that is where I picked up the acorns.