Creek Council Oak Tree
5 reasons this post oak is a living reminder of Tulsa’s roots.
When the Locvpokv Muscogee Creeks arrived in Indian Territory in 1836 after two years on the Trail of Tears, they placed the ashes from their ancestral fires at the base of the tree. Of the original group of 630, 161 people died during the forced march from Alabama to present-day Oklahoma.
The Council Oak designated the new village of the Locvpokv, which they called Talasi or “Old Town.” Mispronunciations by subsequent white settlers eventually gave Tulsa its name. Most town business from 1836-96 was conducted near the tree, as well as ceremonies, feasts, games and celebrations.
After the turn of the 20th century, residential growth hemmed in the site. In 1913, 8-year-old Mary Veasey Leech moved into the house across from the Council Oak Tree, sparking her lifelong devotion to the tree. As an adult, Leech worked with Creek Chief Dode McIntosh to prevent development of the sacred land. The tree was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
Today, Creek Nation Council Oak Park features an ethno-botanical garden of plants used by the Creek. Specimens include American beautyberry, used for rheumatism, malaria and fever; and boneset, which induced sweating to treat flu, colds and pneumonia.
Creek artist Dan Brook’s sculpture at the park pays homage to the sacred fire of the tribe — a representation of the divine “Epofvnkv,” the Creator, to whom all things are connected.