For many of us tracing the footprints of our ancestors, especially the indigenous ones here long before the European invasion is difficult at best. If you are from the Southeast people “difficult would be welcomed. Near impossible is closer to the truth”. Our European and Native ancestors were living and marrying and creating lives together 150 years before the Indian wars of the mid and late 1800’s. There are a lot of generations in a 150 years !!!
I was recently invited to become a member of the Perdido Bay Tribe of Lower Muscogee Creek indians. I didn’t go to visit the Micco Bobby Bearheart and his son Robert Cedar Bear to become a member. I just went to visit. To see what they were doing in the name of Native people. The conversation was of love for heritage and custom of Creek people as well as all people. The invitation was completely unexpected and an overwhelming honor. The honor to share a path with like minded people, of family. The Perdido Bay Tribe is not a blood quantum tribe. Finding a true full blood Southeastern Indian these days is a tall order. Especially a full blood Creek or Cherokee or Seminole, as there has so much mixing for so long.
So instead of going down that tired road of “who is more Indian”, the Micco and his son are looking to the things that unite us. They are interested in bridges and not walls. They are interested in love for all people and unity, and want to share the traditions and culture of their people. The dream is to keep their Creek heritage alive in the hearts and souls of all people, and don’t profess to be the experts of anything. I think we have enough experts in this ole world. I’d much rather walk along side of someone that says he doesn’t know everything, but is willing to be open and honest in the journey of understanding.
If we say we believe in a Christian God, then there is one God and one people. To me, that means we are all family and we should spend more time loving one another than fighting with one another. That is the real meaning of a “human being”, which is the finest of compliments. Feel free to get in touch with your friends and family at the Perdido Bay Tribe. They would love to share our Creek heritage with you. There is much to learn about our environment at PBT as well. Donations are always welcome if you are wondering how you can ensure the good work will continue.
I pray I have represented us in a good and strong light. Below is contact information, and a few words from the Micco (Chief) from the PBT website.
3300 Beloved Path (formerly 1611 Albany Avenue)
Pensacola, FL 32507
Open Tuesday – Saturday, 9am – 5pm
For current news & updates: https://www.facebook.com/perdidobaytribe
Symbols of Of Our Heritage
Perdido Bay Tribe was founded by Chief Bobby Johns Bearheart for the purpose of honoring, learning, and teaching about our Southeastern Muscogee Creek heritage through art and education. This original logo of PBT represents our commitment to the Beloved Path we take – to honor and share the story of the Southeastern Muscogee Creek People.
The BEAR, NOKOSE, is our Clan totem
The CORN is new food for preservation of the People
The PIPE is presented in prayer and offered in peace
The HAND is extended to all people –
Placed on the back of the hand, the eye of the MASTER OF BREATH
Will never be closed – even if the hand is clinched in anger
The state of FLORIDA locates the source of our love for others
All things are connected as is this CIRCLE fed by the
FOUR CARDINAL DIRECTIONS
The MOUND honors the Ancestors where they danced and now rest
The ANIMAL TOTEMS represent life, old clans and our brothers in this world
The FIRE is a symbol of CREATOR’S CHILDREN as we are really of one fire
FOUR LOGS represent the four directions and other important elements of life
The four seasons of the year, four stages of life, four times of day and many more
The DANCERS show the family connection as they dance together in prayer and joy –
To honor and give blessings to GRANDFATHER
The SUN and MOON give us direction and warmth,
GROWTH for our food and for the BEAUTY OF OUR SOULS.
Micco Bobby Johns Bearheart, 1994 ©