DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Bureau of Indian Affairs
II Historical Background
The petitioning group, Yuchi Tribal Organization, Inc., is made up of individuals derived from the historical
Yuchi tribe. This tribe joined the Muscogee (Creek) Confederacy, probably in two stages, in the late 18th or early
19th century (Wright 1951, Court of Claims 1956).(1)
Yuchis have maintained a political and legal relationship with the Muscogee (Creek) tribe since joining the
Creek Confederacy. The Creek Confederacy united dozens of historic tribes yet preserved their ethnic distinctiveness
by making them corporate groups responsible for most of their own affairs, particularly that of training and maintaining
their own standing armies and maintaining their own ceremonial grounds. The incorporated tribes, which might consist of
multiple settlements, were known as talwas, and later as tribal towns.
During the 18th and early 19th centuries, Yuchis were signatories to some Creek treaties with the United States.
They were removed with the Creeks in the 1830s from the banks of the Chattahoochee River in present-day Alabama to what
is now Oklahoma.
The Yuchi and other Creek tribal towns reestablished themselves, along ethnic lines, in the tribes new homelands
following the removal (Opler 1937, 22). There were four Yuchi settlements in Oklahoma, reduced after 1900 to three
(Wright 1951, 267, Speck 1909, 9).
The tribal towns became the basis for representation in both the House of Kings and the House of Warriors of
the bicameral legislature of a Creek Nation government which was developed in 1867 (Opler 1937, 12). The Yuchi were
represented in this government as a single town, one of 44 in the confederacy (Wright 1951, 267). Yuchi leaders
participated actively in its affairs (Wright 1951, 267). A Yuchi leader built the first Creek Council House, a
double log structure in what is now downtown Okmulgee (Tulsa Daily World, 1939).
The Act of April 26, 1906 (34 Stat. 137) allotted Creek lands in severalty and provided for the dissolution of
the Creek tribal government. Yuchis were enrolled as Creek Indians on the roll of the Creek Nation
created by the
Dawes Commission. This roll, under the 1906 act, became the final roll of the Creek Nation. In 1976, the Federal
court in Harjo v. Kleppe (U.S. District Court 1976) determined that the dissolution of the Creek Tribal government
had not been statutorily accomplished and that in fact the Creek government had been explicitly perpetuated.
There continued after 1906 to be some Creek government activities and also some continued functioning of the
tribal towns, including two Yuchi settlements (Opler 1937, 36). A principal chief was appointed by the President
under the 1906 Act, sometimes based on elections or recommendations by representative bodies of Creeks. Three of
the tribal towns organized in the 1930s under the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act. Debo (1940) indicates that
organization of the Yuchi under the act was considered, but was never done.