GAAS announces May speaker

Submitted by Allen Vegotsky (vegotsky@earthlink.net)

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May is Georgia Archaeology Month with a theme this year of the War of 1812 Bicentennial. Considering the theme, our May speaker, Michael Bunn, of Columbus, Georgia is especially appropriate. We are very fortunate to have Mr. Bunn come all this way to talk to us about the Creek Wars as they relate to the War of 1812. This should be an exciting talk and I would encourage you to try to make it. The date is Tuesday, May 8th. The talk will begin about 7:30 PM at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Clifton Road, just north of Ponce de Leon (see map below).

Mike Bunn was named Executive Director of the Historic Chattahoochee Commission in May of 2011. Previously, he worked for over six years as Curator of History at the Columbus Museum where he curated numerous award-winning exhibitions, authored several exhibition catalogs and gallery guides, and oversaw care of the Singer-Moye Mounds historic site. Mr. Bunn has been involved with many organizations in the Chattahoochee Trace region of Alabama and Georgia, including River Way South, Historic Westville, and the Historic Chattahoochee Commission; he serves as chair of the Chattahoochee Valley Civil War Sesquicentennial Planning Committee. Mr. Bunn is co-author of several publications including Battle for the Southern Frontier: The Creek War and the War of 1812 and Images of America: The Lower Chattahoochee River. The following description of his talk was provided by Mike.

Many conflicts in this nation’s history compete for the title of most unknown war, but the Creek Wars of 1813-1814 and 1836 and the related southern campaigns of the War of 1812 have perhaps the best claim on that notoriety. Little understood because of their brevity, relatively small military forces engaged and complexity, these conflicts nonetheless dramatically altered the United States’ history.

The Creek War of 1813-14 and the War of 1812 brought about several far-reaching changes in the Old Southwest, the frontier region of west Georgia, and future states of Mississippi and Alabama. They gave rise to the development of slave-based cotton agriculture in the region, led to the forced removal of native tribes, secured large portions of the Gulf South against European powers and launched the career of one of America’s most influential military and political leaders.

The Second Creek War, fought to a large degree in the Chattahoochee Valley region of Georgia and Alabama in 1836 and 1837, featured a series of isolated skirmishes and raids and only a small number of large-scale battles. The war was the direct result of violations of treaties made with the Creeks concerning their remaining land in the region. In a broader sense, though, the war was a continuation of the decades-long conflict regarding increasing American settlement of Indian lands in the Southeast and the steady diminishment of Native American-controlled territory. The war’s most significant impact on local history lies in the fact that it ultimately led to the final removal of remaining Creek Indians from the area in what has become known as the “Creek Trail of Tears.”

Unfortunately, all three wars and their place in national history are overshadowed in Southern history by the Civil War. Too few of the sites at which they were fought are interpreted for the public, and too few people understand their importance.

A new initiative by the Historic Chattahoochee Commission, a unique state agency of both Georgia and Alabama, will attempt to remedy this situation and give these conflicts the recognition they so richly deserve.

The GAAS monthly meeting is free and open to the public.

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