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Historic Treasure: Creek Council Oak

Located at the corner of 18th Street and Cheyenne Avenue, the Creek Council Oak marks the site where the Lochapoka clan of Creek Indians re-established their government after their forced migration from Alabama to what was then called Indian Territory.

According to the Tulsa Preservation Commission, 630 members of the tribe began the federally mandated trek, which began in 1834; only 469 survived. In 1836, they marked their arrival by choosing a “busk” site for a ceremony in which they deposited ashes carried from their last fires in Alabama.

Near the tree, a tall metal sculpture depicts the sacred fire. Interpretive plaques surrounding the sculpture explain the significance of the fire, whose smoke carries messages of the Mvskoke (Muscogee Creek People) to the Creator. Ceremonial fires are built with logs pointing in the four cardinal directions and are to burn eternally; according to early Mvskoke teachings, if the fires are extinguished, the Mvskoke will perish.

Urban growth has encroached on the original busk ground, but the Council Oak itself survives and is a well-known symbol of Tulsa. The tree was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 and was placed under city Historic Preservation Zoning in 1992.

The Council Oak is one of more than 50 sites in Tulsa that are listed on the National Register. Another of those sites is The Campbell Hotel, built in 1927 and located on Historic Route 66. The Campbell is the perfect starting point for an exploration of Tulsa’s historic treasures. Why not book a night or two┬áin our beautiful Gilcrease Skyline room — which celebrates the city’s American Indian heritage — and spend a weekend visiting the area’s beautiful and fascinating historic sites?

For more information or reservations, visit www.thecampbellhotel.com or call (918) 744-5500.

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