FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug. 7, 2018
Muscogee (Creek) Nation Delivers Support for Tulsa Public Schools’ Consideration of Lee Elementary Name Change to Council Oak Elementary
TULSA, Okla. – On behalf of Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief James R. Floyd, MCN Public Relations Manager Neely Tsoodle provided the Nation’s official statement in support of the renaming of Lee Elementary to Council Oak Elementary during the Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education Regular Meeting Monday, Aug. 6, 2018.
The support comes after an ad hoc committee for the school name change proposed Council Oak Elementary for the school board to consider.
After hearing from more than 25 people, the school board voted unanimously to postpone the decision until the Aug. 20 meeting.
Council Oak is one of five candidates to replace Lee Elementary, which is historically named after Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
Floyd’s providing statement shared the significance of the Council Oak name to the tribe, as well as the community.
“It’s an important piece of our past and it is also of yours and to everyone in this room because it was the beginning of the city of Tulsa,” Tsoodle said. “Many folks don’t know ‘Tallasi’ or Tulsa in short is a Creek word meaning ‘old town’”.
The school, which is located at 1920 S. Cincinnati Ave. Tulsa, Okla., is less than a half-mile from the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Council Oak Park, or in terms of pre-state hood, two allotments away in proximity.
The original Council Oak tree still stands today as the first site of the Muscogee (Creek) government system after forced removal to Indian Territory.
The Council Oak grounds was where council meetings and decisions of the Nation were made before later moving its capital to Okmulgee, Okla., where it resides today.
“To me, it’s a natural link between our cultural, historical site and the elementary,” Floyd said in a previous interview. “In addition to the site being historic, it is sacred because many of our ancestors can tie events in their lives to that location whether it be four or five generations back. We know that decisions regarding our future were made at that location and that is significant because we’re a tribe of 85,000.”
A member of the ad hoc committee approached Floyd’s administration, as well as the MCN Cultural Preservation Department. That’s when Cultural Preservation presented the story board and background information for the public.
During the meeting, Tsoodle shared with the board the tribe’s commitment to involvement with the school and the community if the name change is approved.
“We look forward to the opportunity to educate our children about the very land they walk on every day,” Tsoodle said. “Their classrooms were built on Creek land that was originally allotted to a Creek citizen before statehood.”