When it comes to bucket lists, I believe most of us had several challenges that we didn’t actually see ourselves completing this summer. To be honest, I had about three. While most people spent their summer visiting a few man-made beaches, just outside their neighboring town, or traveling to trendy tourist-filled destination spots, some of us decided that the Summer of 2022 needed some shaking up. Just over a month ago, I had the pleasure of traveling to Atlanta, Georgia. Sure, I’ve traveled there many times in the past few years, but this time… it was a little different, to say the least. Not only was I about to embark on such a huge spiritual conquest, but I was also about to do so with a group of individuals whom I’d only spoken to online, and never met in real life before.
MEMBERS OF THE BCU (BIG CHIEF UNIVERSITY) EASTERN WOODLANDS CHAPTER
While driving up to Atlanta, I couldn’t help but feel a little anxious and that’s to be expected. I was about to meet a group of people, whom I’d never met before, but coincidentally we all shared one common quality about ourselves that most, so-called “African Americans”, can relate to here in the Americas. If you want to be honest, it took many of us generations to realize that not everything past leaders proclaimed is true, when it comes to American history. In fact, there are some of us, who were lucky enough to be raised knowing our family’s truths thanks to our family’s oral history. These true stories of the indigenous peoples here in the Americas are being talked about more now than it was a few decades ago. With individuals like Historian and our gracious host on this trip, Legendary Big Chief Topcatz, and documentarians like Dane Calloway and Kurimeo, more truths of what actually happened in American history aren’t too long and far behind being unearthed and corrected.
ENTRANCE TO THE OCMULGEE EARTHLODGE
On the morning of the meet-up, we all planned to link up in one central location. We figured the best place to connect needed to be both safe and easy enough for anyone to find one another. That place was Lenox Square Mall. Not the best choice, but we figured our cars would be fine, especially with all the security around. It was somewhere that everyone was familiar with, plus we wouldn’t have to worry about parking… so we thought. Listen, this was our first time meeting up and most of us weren’t actually from the city; for that, we get a pass. As more people started arriving, all of the “first-time jitters” everyone was feeling, seemed to just wither away. While waiting for our host to join us, we decided to head over to Starbucks, grab a cup of coffee, and get a little more acquainted with each other. Oh, I forgot to mention… we didn’t actually park at the mall. We ended up parking in a shopping plaza just on the other side of the crosswalk. After everyone ordered, we finally met up with our host, Big Chief Topcatz, and made our way back to our cars so we could finally get on the road. Little did we know, when heading back to the parking lot, we’d all be met with one unexpected surprise.
OPERATOR REMOVING BOOTS OFF OUR CARS
Yep, they ended up booting every single one of us, lmao. What’s funny is while we were walking toward the parking lot, all of us noticed these vibrant orange-colored locks from far away. It was that noticeable, plus the guys were all standing there, waiting for us all to cash out. I think I even heard one of them say, “Yeah, gotcha bih”. On a serious note, I’m not sure how everyone else felt at the moment, but I had to laugh. These guys walked away with $75 per car, apologized as they were removing their boots, and then offered to buy us drinks… oh, and let’s not forget some cooked salmon and weed for the inconvenience, courtesy of his mama, lmao. I can’t make any of this up. But, you know, I’m glad we all looked at the brighter side and brushed it off. Besides, there wasn’t a need to have this one setback ruin the rest of our day. After everything was said and done, we decided on parking our cars at a more secure location, and from there we’d head off to Macon (Georgia).
WALK UP TO THE GREAT TEMPLE MOUND
What felt more like 30 minutes, this 2-hr drive to the Ocmulgee Mounds surprisingly felt comfortable. To be honest, I’ve never traveled in a van, with perfect strangers before, while the conversation just… flowed. When arriving at the Ocmulgee National Historic Park, our spirits were so high. Finally, here’s our chance of walking the very grounds, that some of our ancestors walked and inhabited hundreds of years ago, together. I’m not sure if anyone else noticed, but it truly felt like we had the entire national park to ourselves. The weather called for 70% chance of rain and from the looks of it, it was bound to start pouring at any time. Our thought process was, the ancestors brought us this far and no amount of rain was going to stop us. As we pulled in, the sun actually shined down on us, and that alone we saw as a good omen.
Call it fate, but we couldn’t help but feel like the ancestors were anticipating our arrival. In some areas, the atmosphere seemed so quiet, still, yet alive with so much energy. The more we walked and connected, it all started to make sense why the energy was so alive, that day. Before the disruption of colonizers, this very location was once known as a booming networking hub for trading and other economic services. More importantly, it was known as the ancestral headquarters for the Mvskoke/Muscogee Creek Indians. The Ocmulgee National Historic Park consists of seven mounds in total, which includes the 55-foot-tall Great Temple mound, where it’s said the chief may have lived, the recently remodeled Earthlodge for counsel gatherings, and lastly, the precious Funeral (burial) mound. All of these structures seemed to hold very powerful energies, as we walked from site to site. What was more powerful, in that very moment is that many of us connected with the energies, especially while on the Great Temple mound. While in meditation, some of the women (including myself) received very specific messages, that were later shared with our group. We all took something away from this experience that day and I believe that it brought us all closer than where we all started. It was definitely a life-changing experience and I wish to visit it again in my lifetime.
These past few months, for me, have been absolutely indescribable. When my great-grandfather gave me and my sister his blessings to continue on with finding more on our family’s story, I had no idea that it consisted of us stepping out and exploring actual historical landmarks our ancestors once inhabited. Now, I am not one who believes in coincidences and I believe that opportunities like this are divinely ordered by the ancestors. As I dig into my family’s story a little deeper, I found that my paternal line has more of a connection to Macon-Bibbs County. The tribe that we are already aware of, is Cherokee (what we know may be the Cusabo tribe, just along the sea islands of SC). Through genealogical records, we learned that our family lived in this exact area for a substantial amount of years, before transitioning to several parts of the southeast. As I continue on this journey, I will be updating more here and on Instagram, for those who for following. In the next few weeks, we will actually be having another meet-up, but this time it’ll be even bigger. I will have the pleasure of meeting the additional groups, coming from all over the country. We all plan on meeting up, in November to take on another popular destination. This time, we’ll be traveling to one of Alabama’s most stunning national parks, just at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, called Cheaha State Park (the word ‘cheaha’, from the Creek Indian word “chacha”, meaning mountain). What we’re looking forward to the most during this trip is the Vista Cliffside, which looks over the entire park, and the beautiful waterfall just down the hiking trails. I’m so excited to see everyone again and to connect with some of the other chapters. I can’t think of any other way to end the year than with a trip like this.
This trip is definitely one I should’ve added to my bucket list, years ago. This is going to be epic🪶✨