The Apalachicola River Community of Indians ARCITO

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The Apalachicola River Community of Indians

 Apalachicola River Community Indian Tribal Organization (ARCITO)

Tribal Chairman S. Pony Hill 

267 Nelle St. "A" Callaway FL 32404

Federal Petition Project Office 2444 Avalon Blvd Milton FL 32583 (850) 736-3065 

our book "The Indians of North Florida" is available on Amazon.com, as well as our titles "Strangers in their own land: the state recognized tribes of SC", "Belles of the Creek nation", and "The Cherokee Paradox"

below is Jim Scott with the Copeland girls, 1930 Scott Town, Jackson County Fl

Welcome To Our Website!

Background About The Indians of North Florida

The Apalachicola River Indian Community Conference is a non-profit community-based tribal organization that works for the political, social, legal, and spiritual welfare of the Creek/Eastern Siouan Cheraw Indian people in the panhandle of north Florida.Its focus is to foster tribal cultural identity and unity,documentary historical research into our origins and history, and provide venues for communication, awareness, and growth. We are the descendents of the Indian people who lived in the 3 settlements whose history is documented in the "Our History" part of this website. These are surnames in our community:

Ammons Ayers Barnwell Bass Bennett Bird Blanchard Boggs Brown Bullard Bunch Bryant Brooks Chason Chavis Conyers Copeland Davis Doyle Goins Hall Harris Hicks Hill Holly Ireland Jacobs Johnson Jones Kever Laramore Linton Lollie Lolly Long Lovett Mainer Martin Mayo Moses Oxendine Perkins Porter Potter Revell Rollin Scott Simmons Smith Stafford Stephens Sweat Thomas Whitfield Williams

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These are surnames that are of documented Indian descent, there are several more families who are considered by our community members as a part of our people who may or may not be of Indian descent.

 

 

Historically, our people lived predominately in 3 small settlements, Scott Town in Jackson County, Scotts Ferry in southern Calhoun County, and Woods across the Apalachicola River in Liberty County. These communities were similar to many of the Indian settlements in the Carolinas and most of the ancestors of the Indian people in the Florida settlements migrated to the panhandle originally came from Union and Sumter Counties in South Carolina and Robeson County in North Carolina, during in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Most of the Native American ancestral stock of the Florida Creek-Cheraw communities is from the Lumbee and Catawba, both Eastern Siouan-speaking Cheraw. There is much more on our tribal past in the "Our History" section of this site.

above: Sandy Scott, Beasley Bullard, and the Porter girls Scott Town, Jackson County Florida 1940

Founded by Absalom and Jacob Scott in the early 1800’s, the  Scotts Ferry community prospered until the 1860’s when the settlement faced persecution under the racial miscegenation laws of the Jim Crow Era, a situation which would last until the desegregation of American society a century later. A similar situation confronted the related families from the Scott Town settlement in Jackson County, and to a lesser degree the Hill, Oxendine, Jacobs, and other Indian families at the smaller Woods Settlement. The people of these communities would constantly have to fight prejudiced local authorities and institutional racism to maintain their identities, as documented in the hundreds of documentary records which identify these persons rce as "Indian", from dozens of court cases and school board records, military enlistments, and tax records.

below: Green Corn Dance at Blountstown 1994

 With desegregation and the end of prejudiced Jim Crow race laws, most Indians in north Florida were able to secure a place in the newly emerging southern social scene. But once again, the imposition of OUTSIDER’S definition of community members identity caused the same individuals who often had to fight the “mulatto” label growing up to have to now fight being considered “White” since as a tribal group the Indian people never had a reservation in Florida.

above: Raymond Kever, lifelong resident of Woods Community 

In the 1970’s, the emergence of the “instant-Indian" fad occured in response to the Indian Claims Commissions award of a few hundred dollars in reparation for millions of acres seized illegally from the Creek Nation during their removal to the west in 1832. The idea of "Indian money" led to tens of thousands of southerners with a small amount of Indian blood and who had lived as White through the dark century of Jim Crowism to suddenly become reborn “Creek Indians”. Meanwhile, many of the families of the panhandle's settlement Indians continued the daily struggles of life as Indian people in a white/negro southern social paradigm. Often refered to as'Dominickers, Redbones', and other perjoratives by the dominant White population, the schools for the communities were funded as Colored, though only the Indian children attended. There was little improvement in the standard of living for many of the fuller blood families such as the Scott, Porter, Copeland, Jacobs, Oxendine, and Hill families until the 1970's and access to more opportunity.

below: Indoor Stomp Dance in Blountstown hosted by

Kunfuskee Ceremonial Grounds in 2004

 Only recently has our ongoing research revealed the full extent of the intensity of social struggle on the legal, social, and political scenes by the communities leaders,  elders, and past generations. Our research over the last 20 years has revealed much of our little-known history, that of a the distinct American Indian people who have refused to be absorbed by the larger mainstream populations and who remain a unique and vibrant people today, the "People of One Fire".

below: the location of Calhoun county Florida, and Blountstown where many of the Indian families are from addressed in the "Our History" part of this site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The excerpts below are from the historic record about the Indians of north Florida, to document some of the racial realities our ancestors faced in the centuries of struggle in the Jim Crow South.

 

“The free negroes in this county are mixed-blood, almost white and are  intermarried with a low class of whites – Have no trade, occupation or  profession they live in a settlement or Town of their own  their personal   property consists of Cattle & Hogs, They make no produce except corn &   peas & very little of that, They are a lazy Indolent & worthless race.”

-1860 Federal Census of Calhoun County narrative concerning Scott’s Ferry

 

 “There are men who would knife us out of having our own school

saying that we are negroe. You know our character that we are

of white and Indian blood…”

-Scotts Ferry School Trustee Dave Martin to Calhoun County Clerk of Court-1938

 

“Some of the forefathers claim there was no negro blood, but there was Indian blood. This, we are unable to substantiate by any official records.”

-JD Milton, Superintendent of Jackson County Schools in correspondence upon interviewing Tom Scott of Scott Town as to the community’s origins-1942 

 

 

 below: the people of Scott Town, in front of Mulberry grove Community's Scott Church, which was also the community schoolhouse during the segregation era. For more on Scott Town and Scotts Ferry see the "Our History" section of this website.

 

 The People of Scott Town Community 1950

 

 

 

 

 

 

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