BIRMINGHAM - A new documentary about Alabama’s Poarch Band of Creek Indians produced by Jacksonville State University’s Longleaf Studios premiered on Alabama Public Television (APT) last week. The Forgotten Creeks is now available to be streamed from APT’s website and the PBS video app.
This documentary has been more than two years in the making. It tells the story of the Poarch Creek people through their long and important history. It also traces how the Tribe has evolved from being an impoverished, isolated community to the independent, self-sufficient Indian nation it is today.
“We are honored that our Tribe was selected to be the subject of this documentary produced by Jacksonville State University and Alabama Public Television,” said Stephanie Bryan, Poarch Band of Creek Indians Tribal Chair. “We feel incredibly blessed to have this recounting of both our history and our lives today.”
The Forgotten Creeks recalls the history of Alabama’s Mvskoke Creek Indians from Spanish contact in the 1500’s through the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The documentary explores what happened to those Mvskoke Creeks who remained in Alabama following the Trail of Tears and documents those ensuing years of poverty, assimilation, and discrimination that nearly destroyed their indigenous identity.
It also traces how in 1984, after more than 40 years of unwavering advocacy by Tribal Leaders, the federal government recognized the Tribe as a sovereign, or independent Indian nation with ancestral lands in Atmore, Alabama and elsewhere in the state. Federal recognition was the beginning of a new chapter in the Tribe’s history. Economic development brought self-sufficiency and the Tribe’s focus on educational opportunities, family values, and faith guided its transition to prosperity.
Seth Johnson, who serves as distinguished professor of graphic design and assistant dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at JSU, said, “Producing this film was a rewarding experience. Our students were able to work alongside an accomplished film studio in the production of the film and gained valuable industry experience in doing so. We owe a significant thank you to the Poarch Creek Tribal Members who gave us their trust, welcomed us into their homes, and allowed us to tell their story.”
The full documentary is available on APT’s website, https://aptv.org, and may be viewed at any time.