According to accounts by First Nations people and settlers, as dawn broke on April 30, 1825, 200 Creek warriors led by Chief Menawa approached Lockchau Talofau, a home in Carroll County, to carry out a death sentence of Chief William McIntosh Jr. The son of a Creek woman and a Scottish man, Chief McIntosh was killed along with an elderly Coweta Chief, Etomme Tustunnuggee, for his role in violating a treaty and selling Native American land.
McIntosh was chief of the Lower Creeks.
Nearly 200 years later, on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, about a mile away from where the Creek execution unfolded, Daryl Johnson proudly read a proclamation from the Creek Nation saying it supports what Carroll County is doing with the land. Johnson is the manager of what is now the McIntosh Reserve Park.
Johnson was one of the key organizers of this past weekend’s McIntosh Fall Festival which pays tribute to the original occupants of the land by hosting Native Americans who use the opportunity to share their stories, express their culture and acknowledge their heritage. The two-day festival concluded Sunday.
Prior to the start of this year’s festival, Lakota-Sioux descendant Frank “Spotted Eyes” Hall of Newnan visited the property. He said that he had come before and things were “not good.” This year, however, things were “very much in good balance.” Along with his daughter, Terri “Spirit Horse Woman” Hall Hofman and 9-year-old grandson Bryce “Little Kicking Boy” Thomas Hall, he spent this past weekend at the festival educating visitors who were mesmerized by their decorative shoes, headdresses and regalia.
“I’m very proud to wear all of this,” said Bryce, who was the youngest person in full dress at the event. “I’m proud to have Native American heritage and to be able to share my heritage with people when they ask.”
Hofman said that to have Bryce along was just a natural thing when attending gatherings with her father. She explained her prized dress, made of elk, was given to her and that it took half a year to complete.
“I have been doing this for a long time,” she said.
Her father explained the significance of his regalia, pointing to the bone breastplate over a ribbon shirt and choker around his neck.
“We wore this to protect us many, many years ago in battles,” said Hall. “We thought that this might prevent an arrow from piercing our skin or a knife from cutting our throat. What I have on my hair is the headdress called a roach and the feathers that I have in this represent my ancestors — my grandfathers and grandmothers. They are golden eagle feathers — that is one of our traditions to carry our ancestors with us.”
Hall said this was his 27th year promoting and taking part in the McIntosh Fall Festival, known for its Pow Wow. He said that he enjoys seeing people enjoying themselves.
Hall was stopped several times by people asking him to pose for photos with them. Debbie Miller who was visiting from Chicago said she was honored to take a photo with him.
“We are here visiting a friend and we heard about the history of the park,” she said. “It was amazing for us to come and see all that was happening here. I think it’s an amazing way to ensure that people don’t forget the history of the land. It’s just fabulous.”
Hall called McIntosh a businessman who made a mistake when he violated the treaties. He says with the proclamation, healing of the land can begin.
“They now accept this land as Creek land and we are appreciative and we try to answer questions about our heritage,” said Hall. “People want to know about it so we are more than happy to help them understand this if we can.”
Johnson said the thing about the fall festival is that there is so much more to it than arts and crafts. He said that after taking a two-year break with the fall festival it is back and in full swing.
“This takes place on ancestral Creek Indian land,” Johnson said. “Once the Creeks went to Oklahoma, they more or less cut ties with Georgia and this area. I got a visit earlier in the month from the principal chief of the Creek Nation. As things happened, the principal chief of the Creek nation from Oklahoma was in Georgia for a special event commemorating the Ocmulgee Indian mounds around Macon and he stopped by and he’s a direct descendant of Chief William McIntosh through Chief McIntosh’s daughter, Rebecca. He had a conversation with me and he seemed to like what he had heard and what he had seen here, that Carroll County is doing with this park that used to be a land that used to belong to the people.”
Johnson said the proclamation is special because it supports Carroll County’s use of the park land. It was also sent throughout the Creek Nation, which consists of 83,000 people he hopes will be able to attend the fall festival in years to come.
“One of our goals of this festival is that the Creek people are not forgotten people,” said Johnson. “You hear about the Cherokee and other nations but the Creek people who lived here until the 1820s are almost forgotten and it’s our duty to remind people that there was a civilization here prior to the settlers and we celebrate that. ... They were very excited that Georgia has not forgotten the connection to Oklahoma to the Creek Nation so it’s a wonderful wonderful time to bring it back.”
McIntosh, known as Tustunnuggee Hutkee (White Warrior), was said to have participated in the drafting and signing of the Treaty of Indian Springs of 1825. For this, he received 1,000 acres of land at Indian Springs plus 640 acres on the Ocmulgee River and the remainder of Native American land was sold to Georgia for $200,000.