Alabama (people)

Alabama (people)

The Alabama or Alibamu ("Albaamaha" in the Alabama language) are a Southeastern culture people of Native Americans.The Alabama language is part of the Muskogean language family, as is the language of the Creek and Choctaw people, with whom the Alabama also share cultural features. They were members of the Creek Confederacy. The home lands of the Alabama were on the upper Alabama River.



The Alibamu and Koasati tribes were part of the Creek Confederacy. They had less contact with British settlers than other Creek tribes, so they were the first to leave when the British settlers swarmed into the area by the middle of the 18th century. They also were under pressure by Native American enemies, and wanted to avoid the Choctaw in Mississippi. They moved first into Louisiana and then into Texas.

In 1795, the Coushattas came to the Big Thicket area of East Texas. In 1805, nearly one thousand Alabamas came to Tyler County's Peach Tree Village in East Texas. The two tribes developed a strong friendship as they roamed and hunted their new land together. In the early 1800s, the Texas Congress granted each tribe two strips of land along the Trinity River. Unfortunately, their land was soon taken over by white settlers, leaving them homeless. Sam Houston, the governor of Texas, recommended that the state purchase 1,280 acres for the Alabamas and set aside 640 acres for the Coushattas. The land for the Coushattas was never set aside, though. Either through marriage or special permission, many Coushattas went to live on the allotted land given to the Alabamas. The Coushattas who did not go to live with the Alabamas moved to an area near Kinder, Louisiana, where many still live today.-- () 03:17, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

By 1820, there were three main Alabama towns and three large Coushatta towns in east Texas, in the region known as the Big Thicket. In 1854, the Alabamas were given 1,280 acres (5 km²) in Polk County. The following year, 640 acres (2.6 km²), also in Polk County, were given to the Coushattas. The Coushatta claim was disputed by white settlers in 1859. When the Coushatta lost the land claim, the Alabama asked them to come live on their land claim. The federal government approved a large grant to purchase land near the reservation in 1928. It was granted to the "Alabama and Coushatta tribes." Since that time, the reservation has officially been known as “Alabama-Coushatta.”

The two tribes also share cultural characteristics. In a hearing before the Indian Claims Commission in 1974, Dr. Daniel Jacobson suggested that the Alabama and Coushatta tribes were culturally related because of intermarriage. The "Handbook of Texas" reports that the languages come from the same stock, even though there could be some word variance. Origin myths focus on the interconnectedness of the tribes. One myth states that the two tribes sprouted from either side of a cypress tree. Another legend was recorded in 1857 from Se-ko-pe-chi, one of the oldest Creeks in Indian Territory. He said that the tribes “sprang out of the ground between the Cohawba and Alabama Rivers.” The symbol of the Alabama-Coushatta tribe, featured on their website, portrays two intertwined waterfowl, symbolic of the connection between the two tribes.



The Alabama who relocated to Texas supported Texas independence. In gratitude, Governor Sam Houston recommended that Texas purchase land for the tribe when their existing land was overtaken by settlers. They merged with the Coushatta to become the present-day Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas, whose legal identity and sovereignty as a tribe was formally restored by Federal recognition in 1987.

The current tribal lands are in eastern Polk County, Texas. The Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation, Texas' oldest reservation, has 18.484 km² (7.137 sq mi) of land. The 2000 census reported a resident population of 480 persons within the reservation. Currenly, there are some 550 members of the Alabama-Coushatta tribe [ Retrieved on 2008-10-01] .-- () 13:37, 1 October 2008 (UTC)


In Okmulgee County, Oklahoma, the Alabama Quassarte Tribal Town was established in 1936. The descendants of the Alabama who live there are linked also to the Muskogee Creek Nation.

Tribal Economy and Gaming

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe has found the service industry to be the most beneficial way to generate revenue and jobs on the reservation. In 2002, the Tribe opened a convenience store and gas station which is slowly becoming profitable. Unfortunately, the station generates a small profit margin and a limited number of jobs that cannot possibly meet all the economic needs of the Tribe.-- () 01:31, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

One year earlier, the Tribe opened an entertainment center for tourists. The center offered casino gambling, which was organized to be lawful under the 1992 Texas Lotto Law that had legalized the state lottery, horse racing, and dog racing in the state of Texas. The Alabama-Coushatta, a Christian community, allowed no alcohol in the casino. This time the Tribe was successful in generating revenue and jobs. The center offered jobs to 87 Tribal members, greatly reducing unemployment from 46 percent to 14 percent. Revenues from the entertainment center provided the Tribe with funding for health services, elders, educational opportunities for youth, social services, and housing. With the opening of the center, the surrounding region reported an increase in sales and tax revenues. Unexpectedly, the entertainment center benefited not only the Tribe, but also the surrounding regions by creating more than 495 jobs and paying 4.3 million dollars in wages. After only nine months of business, a court ruled in 2002 to force the Alabama-Coushatta to close their entertainment center, while still allowing other gambling throughout the state. The federal courts ruled that the tribe had agreed to ban gaming, under state laws, in exchange for federal recognition. Without the casino, there is no funding for economic programs and over three hundred jobs have been lost in Polk County. Since the courts shut down the center, the Alabama-Coushatta has been diligently trying to gain support to re-open the entertainment center, for the success of both the Tribe and the surrounding regions. Over the years, the Tribe has struggled to recover its economy through other possible means.-- () 04:20, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

"We should be candid about the interests surrounding Indian gaming. The issue has never really been one of crime control, morality, or economic fairness...At issue is economics...Ironically, the strongest opponents of tribal authority over gaming on Indian lands are from States whose liberal gaming policies would allow them to compete on an equal basis with the tribes...We must not impose greater moral restraints on Indians than we do on the rest of our citizenry."-Senator Daniel Inouye, Senior United States Senator from Hawaii
-- () 20:36, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Since the late 1960s and 1970s, many United States government officials have believed in the evils of Indian gaming. Thus, it is not surprising that the government still has the same views, and thus still tries to stop Indian gaming through legislation.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, passed by Congress in 1988, established the framework that currently governs Indian gaming. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, or IGRA, allows tribes to develop casino-style operations that could improve governmental services and economic conditions in Indian country. According to the IGRA, tribes have the "exclusive right" to regulate gaming in Indian Territory "except when gambling is contrary to federal law or when a state completely prohibits a form of gaming." The IGRA recognized three different classes of gaming:
*Class I Gaming: Includes traditional tribal gambling, such as stick and bone games
*Class II Gaming: Includes bingo, pull tabs, etc.
*Class III Gaming: Includes large-scale gambling operationsClass I gaming is controlled completely by the tribes. Class II gaming is regulated by the tribes with oversight by the National Indian Gaming Commission. Class III gaming may be allowed in a state that allows large-scale gambling operations, even if it allows only low-level operations. Also, Class III gaming is subject to agreed regulatory procedures in Tribal-State compacts, which states are required to negotiate in "good faith." Without a tribal-state compact, no tribal casino can be permitted. Tribes find fault with the provision about Tribal-State compacts, because under the Eleventh Amendment that calls for state sovereign immunity, tribes are not able to sue any state to enforce the requirement. Therefore, while the IGRA gives tribes the right to have casinos, the Eleventh Amendment gives the states the right to not negotiate tribal-state compacts.-- () 22:29, 2 October 2008 (UTC)


* Grant, Bruce. "Concise Encyclopedia of the American Indian", New York: Wings Books, 2000 (3rd Edition)
* Waldman, Carl. "Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes", New York: Checkmark, 1999. ISBN 0-8160-3964-X
* [ Alabama-Coushatta Reservation, Texas] United States Census Bureau
*Jacobson, Daniel, Howard N. Martin, and Ralph Henry Marsh. "(Creek) Indians Alabama-Coushatta", New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1974.
*LaVere, David. "The Texas Indians", College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2004.
* [ Alabama Indians] , Texas State Handbook Online
* [ "The Legend of the Twin Manifestations"] , Alabama-Coushatta Official Website
* [ "History"] , Alabama-Coushatta Official Website-- () 01:33, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
* [ "Economic Development"] , Alabama-Coushatta Official Website-- () 01:33, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
* [ "Tribal History"] , Alabama-Coushatta Official Website-- () 03:01, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
*Wilkinson, Charles. Blood Struggle:The Rise of Modern Indian Nations. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2006.-- () 04:25, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
*"Alabama-Coushatta Tribe Seeks Gaming Support." 24 June 2008. 2 Oct 2008 <">.
*Attorney's For Plaintiff. "Plaintiff Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas's Original Complaint." 12 July 2006. 2 Oct 2008 . -- () 04:40, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

External links

* [ Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas]
* [ Alabama Quassarte Tribal Town of Oklahoma]
* [ Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act notice returning artifacts to Alabama-Quasserte and others]

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