Creek Heritage Trail
—Historic Chattahoochee Commission —
At its height, the Creek Nation consisted of about 20,000 people living in more
than seventy townships, or talwas (tvlwv)
, scattered throughout modern-day Alabama and Georgia. Creek townships commonly consisted of a primary town and a number of small associated villages and homesteads scattered over a given area. These communities were bound together socially. A Creek town was more than just a physical location; it was the basic unit of cultural organization. Creeks thought of themselves first and foremost as members of their respective talwas.At the heart of every Creek town of sufficient size was a small governmental and cultural complex known as a "square ground. This public space functioned as the symbolic and literal heart of the community, and the place where official town business took place and important guests were received. These areas were commonly defined by four large rectangular buildings or arbors, oriented in the four cardinal directions and open toward the center. All male residents of the town would have been assigned seats in one of these according to their age and rank in society, and occupied them as hosts, counsel, and judges depending on the occasion for gathering in this scared space. Ceremonial fires in the heart of this plaza would have been kept burning almost constantly.
Nearby or even adjacent to the plaza would have been a council house, a large circular building where dignitaries could gather in cold weather and in which a number of other social functions of the town would have been held throughout the year. A large plaza where competitive games were played and where residents gathered to trade, talk, and socialize, would have been located not too far away.Captions:
The lower Chattahoochee and Flint river valleys at one time contained over two dozen prominent Creek towns. This map is based on an original map found in Creek Country: The Creek Indians and Their World
, by Robbie Ethridge.
This sketch of the layout of a typical Creek town (left) and a plan of a Creek square ground (right) are taken from H. Thomas Foster II's Archaeology of the Lower Muskogee Creek Indians, 1715-1836.
In the sketch at left, "B" is the ball field, "S" is the square ground, and "H" is the council house.
Artist rendering of Yuchi Town, a village within the Creek ConfederacyBy Martin pateCourtesy of Office of Environmental Programs, Management Branch, Fort Benning
Sponsored by the Historic Chattahoochee Commission and the Russell County Convention and Visitor's Bureau