The Poarch Creek Band of Indians is again facing a lawsuit after the Muscogee (Creek) Nation asked an appellate court to reinstate it.

The tribal nation first filed the lawsuit in 2012, seeking to demolish Wind Creek Casino and Resort in Wetumpka and prevent further land development, claiming it was built on a sacred site.

That land, Hickory Ground, was the last capital of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation before they were forcibly relocated to Oklahoma.

The lawsuit states that 57 graves were removed from the site when the casino was built in 2001. It also states many of those remains are still being stored at Auburn University and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation wants them returned to descendants.  

“You made a promise to protect these lands and the MCN ancestors who remain there,” David Hill, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s principal chief, wrote. “A promise that was broken when you removed our ancestors, stored them in boxes, and sent them off to a university to be studied by non-Indian archeologists. Some, still today, sit in a storage facility on site. You have yet to do right by them.”

The original lawsuit was thrown out because the Poarch Creeks are federally protected by qualified immunity and cannot be sued for developing their land.

The appeal was filed in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

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