To extend Federal recognition to the Muscogee Nation of Florida.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
May 4, 2011
Mr. NELSON of Florida introduced the following bill; which was read
twice and referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs
To extend Federal recognition to the Muscogee Nation of Florida.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Muscogee Nation of Florida Federal Recognition
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
(1) the Muscogee Nation of Florida is comprised of lineal descendants
of persons who were historically part of the Creek Confederacy, which
relocated from Daleville, Alabama, and other areas of southern Alabama
to the State of Florida between 1812 and 1887;
(2) those Creek persons settled in the north Florida panhandle in
autonomous communities (referred to in the constitution of the Muscogee
Nation as `Townships'), continuing the lifestyle and traditions practiced
by the historic Creek Nation of Alabama and Georgia;
(3)(A) on dissolution of the Creek Confederacy, the ancestors of current
members of the Muscogee Nation of Florida relocated and reestablished
home sites, traditions, ceremonial centers, tribal government (including
through the traditional appointment of tribal leaders), and tribal
economy in rural areas of the State of Florida;
(B) the relocation described in subparagraph (A) did not prevent the
(i) continuing to exercise the governing powers of the Nation;
(ii) providing services to members of the Nation; or
(iii) enjoying the communal lifestyle of the Nation; and
(C) some members of the Nation remain on the original home sites of
their Creek ancestors;
(4) members of the Nation--
(A) participated in the 1814 Treaty of Fort Jackson and the Apalachicola
Treaty of October 11, 1832; and
(B) were included in the Abbott-Parsons Creek Census, dated 1832
(5) members of the Nation have established an ancestral claim to land
taken from the Nation by General Andrew Jackson in the aftermath of
the War of 1812 pursuant to the 1814 Treaty of Fort Jackson;
(6) beginning in 1971, the Secretary of the Interior distributed to
members of the Nation in 3 actions per capita payments for land claim
(7)(A) in 1974, the State of Florida established the Northwest Florida
Creek Indian Council to manage issues relating to Creek Indians in
northwest Florida; and
(B) in 1978, the Council held an election for representatives to the
tribal government known as the `Florida Tribe of Eastern Creek Indians',
which is now known as the Muscogee Nation of Florida;
(8) the community of Bruce in Walton County, Florida, has been a governing
center for the Nation for more than 150 years;
(9) in the community of Bruce, the Nation--
(A) beginning in the early 1860s, used and maintained the Antioch
Cemetery, which remains in use by members of the Nation as of the
date of enactment of this Act;
(B) between 1895 and 1947, maintained a school that was attended
by members of the Nation;
(C) in 1912, established a church that is recognized by the Methodist
Conference as a Native American church; and
(D) maintained a ceremonial area on Bruce Creek that was attended
until the late 1920s;
(10) the ceremonial area of the Nation, as in existence on the date
of enactment of this Act--
(A) is located in the community of Blountstown, Florida, one of
the reservations referred to in the Apalachicola Treaty of October
11, 1832; and
(B) is the site of continuing ceremonies, such as Green Corn, and
(11) local governments have recognized the community of Bruce as the
center of tribal government of the Nation; and
(12) during the 30-year period preceding the date of enactment of
this Act, the Nation has received Federal, State, and local grants,
and entered into contracts, to provide services and benefits to members
of the Nation.
SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.
(1) MEMBER- The term `member' means--
(A) an individual who is an enrolled member of the Nation as of
the date of enactment of this Act; and
(B) an individual who has been placed on the membership rolls of
the Nation in accordance with this Act.
(2) NATION- The term `Nation' means the Muscogee Nation of Florida
(formerly known as the `Florida Tribe of Eastern Creek Indians').
(3) SECRETARY- The term `Secretary' means the Secretary of the Interior.
(4) TRIBAL COUNCIL- The term `Tribal Council' means the governing
body of the Nation.
SEC. 4. FEDERAL RECOGNITION.
(1) IN GENERAL- Federal recognition is extended to the Nation.
(2) APPLICABILITY OF LAWS- All laws (including regulations) of the
United States of general applicability to Indians or nations, Indian
tribes, or bands of Indians (including the Act of June 18, 1934 (25
U.S.C. 461 et seq.)) that are not inconsistent with this Act shall
be applicable to the Nation and members.
(b) Federal Services and Benefits-
(1) IN GENERAL- On and after the date of enactment of this Act, the
Nation and members shall be eligible for all services and benefits
provided by the Federal Government to federally recognized Indian
tribes without regard to--
(A) the existence of a reservation for the Nation; or
(B) the location of the residence of any member on or near any Indian
(2) SERVICE AREA- For the purpose of the delivery of Federal services
to members, the service area of the Nation shall be considered to
(A) the community of Bruce in Walton County, Florida; and
(B) an area in the State of Florida in which members reside that
(i) on the west by the Escambia River; and
(ii) on the east by the St. Marks River.
SEC. 5. CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS.
(a) In General- The constitution and bylaws of the Nation shall be the
constitution and bylaws of the Tribal Council dated January 21, 2001
(including amendments), as submitted to the Secretary for approval on
(b) New Constitution and Bylaws- On receipt of a written request of
the Tribal Council, the Secretary shall hold a referendum for members
for the purpose of adopting a new constitution and bylaws, in accordance
with section 16 of the Act of June 18, 1934 (25 U.S.C. 476).
SEC. 6. TRIBAL COUNCIL.
(1) shall represent the Nation and members; and
(A) enter into any contract, grant agreement, or other agreement
with any Federal department or agency;
(B) carry out or administer such programs as the Tribal Council
determines to be appropriate to carry out the contracts and agreements;
(C) designate a successor in interest pursuant to a new constitution
or bylaw of the Nation adopted under section 5(b).
SEC. 7. MEMBERSHIP ROLL.
The membership roll of the Nation shall be determined in accordance
with the membership criteria established by the ordinance of the Nation
numbered 04-01-100 and dated February 7, 2004.