The Creeks are a Native American people also known as the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. They originated from the southeastern part of the U.S. and now are primarily settled in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Oklahoma. Like the Chickasaws, the Muscogee (Creek) are also a matrilineal tribe. The Creeks are a union of several tribes that developed into a confederacy with distinct tribal towns and a unique political system.
The early Spanish explorers first encountered the Creeks and their Mississippi River Valley chiefdoms in the mid-16th century. According to Chickasaw Tribal Historian Richard Green, the Creeks were much earlier to establish trading relationships than the Chickasaws with the Spanish and the French, primarily due to their location. The Creeks were the first Native American tribe to be “civilized” under George Washington’s civilization plan, and they were also known as one of the “Five Civilized Tribes” (along with the Chickasaws) in the 19th century for their adoption of European practices.
Early allies with Spain were led by Chief Alexander McGillivray. McGillivray assumed the position of principal chief of this tribe around 1782.
Later on, the Red Stick War, also known as the “Creek War,” broke out within the Muscogee (Creek) tribe due to internal tribal divisions. This civil war between two factions of the Muscogee Nation ultimately led them to fight against the United States when they became involved in the War of 1812.
During the Indian Removal of 1830, the Creeks relocated to Indian Territory. The majority of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation is currently settled and based in Oklahoma.