Construction Monitoring: Creek Council House
The directors of ACS were engaged by the City of Okmulgee, Oklahoma, in cooperation with the Creek Indian Memorial Association, to monitor disturbance to the grounds of the Creek Council House during its restoration. The original Creek Council House of 1867 was destroyed by fire and replaced by the present stone structure in 1877. Archaeological monitoring led to the identification and mapping of the foundation for the original council house which lay directly beneath the center of the present structure.
The original Creek Council House built in 1867
The council house represents efforts by the Creek Nation to maintain cultural and political autonomy in the face of severe adversities, including the removals of the early 19th Century which brought many of the Creeks to Oklahoma. As a place of communal gathering, the council grounds and the house can be viewed as part of a continuum of evolving Creek structures originating in pre-contact ceremonial plazas. Symmetric architectural layouts reflect duality in totem spirituality, aspects of which are bound by the mutual dependency in forces of nature and humanity. As a seat of government, the council house also incorporated aspects of Euroamerican culture, with a gold-plated eagle at the top of the cupola, and a political structure which shared many qualities with the federal government of the United States. The Creek Council houses thus display aspects of cultural continuity and change reflecting the efforts of a proud people to perpetuate their cultural heritage. Recommendations were submitted to preserve the original foundation and to conserve numerous materials associated with the construction and use of both buildings.
The second Creek Council House built in 1877
Plan drawing of the original Creek Council House foundation recorded beneath the floor of the existing Council House.