These found poems are drawn from interviews with elderly citizens of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation recorded in 1937-38 as part of the Indian-Pioneer History Project sponsored by the federal Works Progress Administration and archived at the Oklahoma Historical Society and the University of Oklahoma. You can read more about this project at Tribal College and Reckoning. —Eds.

1 tokepahce town is spoken of as the mother of the muscogee nation and is first apehkv is second kvsehtv is third and kvwetv is fourth each gathers at his own town but no two towns meet on the same date so they can all visit the other towns they do not take medicine when visiting unless they want to and then it is taken by permission 2 their way of carrying on their customs was to watch one another the members of tribal towns watched others to learn how and see how other tribal towns carried on the ceremonies customs and carried out the beliefs which had been handed down by the older ones none wished to interfere with the rights of the tribal town in the use customs and beliefs that accompanied the medicine and the use of the medicine was always a foremost rite in each town and was considered sacred by the other towns the tokepahce were looked on with respect for their sacred plate ceremony 3 all the ancient tribal towns of the mvskoke creek nations were not bound by the traditional customs of other tribal towns but they turned to the tokepahce for instruction and guidance in their way of conduct for the tokepahce were old in their ways and strong for tribal rites the tokepahce never acted possessive when they were sought for advice and guidance by the other towns tales have been handed down of how the old indians of the tokepahce town in the old country observed their busk ground ceremonials rules were laid down to prevent the cooking odors from the camps to reach those within the busk ground who were taking medicine all camps were placed in a circle around the council fire site with the fire site being the center of the busk ground 4 the tokepahce town or square was measured by the earth north south east and west the government sent a man out to investigate he went to see and surveyed it and said it was just right the ones who belong to that town go there and take medicine before they eat green corn and have their dances this fire was given to the tokepahce town by the great spirit and has been handed down from generation to generation i believe it is a kind of flint the fire is in a rock at all dances they use it to dance around they take four logs about three feet long and six inches through two are laid north and south and the other two are laid across them east and west just right they are set on fire with this sacred fire and make a big light to dance around toward daylight they are pushed together and pushed together until every bit of the logs burn out during the last dance it is bad luck to leave the logs unburned Sandy Fife, b. ca. 1870 Thloppie Tiger, b. ca. 1880 Eunah Hobia, b. ca. 1897 William Benson, b. ca. 1875

JAMES TREAT is the author of Around the Sacred Fire: Native Religious Activism in the Red Power Era and the editor of several volumes of native literature. His essays and poems have appeared in American Indian Culture and Research Journal, American Quarterly, Contemporary Verse 2, Cultural Survival Quarterly, Fourth Genre, Indian Country Today, Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, Muscogee Nation News, Native Americas, Orion, Studies in American Indian Literature, Tribal College Journal, Verbatim Found Poetry, and other academic and literary journals. Treat is an enrolled citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. More information about his work is available at his website.