Protests Over Expansion of Wind Creek Casino on Ancient Burial Grounds


By Brittany Bivins

Several Native American groups are holding protests to speak out against plans to expand the Wind Creek Hotel and Casino onto ancient burial grounds.

About thirty people gathered at a Wetumpka park Saturday, saying the Poarch Creek Band of Indians should stop the expansion of the Wind Creek Hotel and Casino.

For the protesters, the Hickory Ground where Wind Creek Casino sits is sacred. They call the removal of the Muscogee ancestors remains a tragedy.

"There are people that are being snatched up from their eternal places of rest so that people affected with the sickness of greed can build a casino upon the sacred land for gambling. This is something I've never seen from any Native American culture," said Steve Musgrove.

The feud started nearly a decade ago when the Wind Creek Casino removed the remains to construct the casino.

The PCI  Tribal Council says it put the remains to rest according to traditional customs, but not all members of the Poarch Creek Band of Indians agree with the expansion.

"Another reason i'm here today is to let everyone know that there are tribal members of the Poarch Creek Indians that are against this also," said Chris Adams, a member of the Poarch Creek Band of Indians in Wetumpka.

Even people who aren't Native American came out to speak out against the expansion."It's devastating to me to realize that they have disturbed the bodies of ancestors just to pursue that almighty dollar, which is what they're going," said Donna Spradley.

Muscogee leaders say the PCI Tribal Council promised to preserve the land twenty years ago, and they want them to keep their word. "That's what the whole movement is about, save Hickory Ground, is to end the destruction of the grounds and return our ancestors back to their resting places and return the site back to nature," said Musgrove.

The Muscogee Indians of Oklahoma have a lawsuit pending against the PCI Tribal Council to stop the expansion construction.

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians issued a statement earlier this week, saying they would respect the protestors' right to freedom of speech.



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