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    • Abstract:
      While tribal tradition held that the Creeks, or Muskogees, originally came from west of the Mississippi River, they occupied large areas of Georgia and Alabama by the seventeenth century. The name “Creek” is of English origin and derived from Ochesee Creek, a tributary of the Ocmulgee River. (Ochesee was the name given the Muskogees by neighboring Indians.) English traders originally referred to the Muskogees as Ochesee Creeks but soon shortened the name to Creeks. The Creeks were not originally a single tribe, and not all Creeks spoke Muskogee. They were instead a collection of groups that included, among others, Muskogees, Alabamas, Hitchitis, Coushattas, Natchez, Yuchis, and even some Shawnees. Those living along the Alabama, Coosa, and Tallapoosa Rivers came to be regarded as Upper Creeks, while those along the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers came to be known as Lower Creeks. Over time, the English (and later American) habit of regarding the Creeks as a single nation and dealing with them as such encouraged more of a sense of overall Creek identity. Few tribes, however, could match the ethnic and linguistic diversity of the Creeks. Creek