(Cecil Folds | The Standard)
On July 27, Robert Thrower and Margaret Baggett of the Poarch Creek Indians from Atmore came to First Steps at the YMCA to share the history of the tribe with the students.
Thrower asked the students if they knew how long Indians had been in this country. He told them Indians had been in America for about 12,000 years before any white men came to this country. He said Indians had been living here and hunting in this state around 8,000 years.
He continued by asking if they knew what Indians hunted with to get their food. Most of the kids said, “Bows and arrows.” Most people think that Indians used bows and arrows to hunt their food, but the fact is we watch too much TV.
According to Thrower, the bow and arrow came much later but in the earlier years Indians only had spears. Most of the arrowheads we find in this area are not arrowheads but actually spearheads and the larger the spearhead, the bigger the animal that was being hunted.
Thrower and Baggett also showed the kids many more items that the Indians used back in the old days when they traveled throughout the country. Some of the items showed were animal pelts, such as deer, beaver and rabbit. The skins were used as clothing for families to keep warm in the winter time.
Thrower also demonstrated how they threw the spears with so much force, by placing the tip of the spear in a holder that was used to push the spear forward with power. He also showed them a hatchet and said the white man called it a tomahawk, but this was not the name the Indians called the weapon; to them it was known as a club.
He asked the kids if they knew how Indians cooked their food, and the kids said, “Over a campfire.”
Thrower said they cooked their food all at one time for several people by placing rocks in one fire, heating them until they were red hot and then putting the hot rocks in bowls where food had been prepared to cook the food. According to Thrower, this is called the “Indian microwave.”
Everyone’s food was cooked at one time so they could all eat together. He said we have so many conveniences today; it is hard to realize how the Indians survived back in the old days. They took several questions from the kids.
The kids had a great time and learned a great amount of history from Thrower and Baggett. Thrower told the kids that next year, Poarch Creek Indians would be celebrating their centennial year through 2019. They would be working with the schools around the state to help people understand the history behind each Creek Indian Nation as they travel around the state demonstrating how the Indians survived.