This is a bag that I made for a Creek friend in Oklahoma who is a member of the Bear Clan. He is also a stomp dance leader at Green Corn and an elder. The Cross-in-Circle design on the left side of the strap (as you face it) refers to the last fire in Alabama before Indian Removal. The black tear-shaped designs refer to the sorrow of that time. The line zig-zagging back and forth from one end to the other refers to the long trail to the West, with the tears shed along the way, the Trail of Tears. The Creeks didn't use that term for it, but it was as much a Trail of Tears for them as it was for the Cherokee. On the other side of the strap you see another Cross-in-Circle, which refers to the fire rekindled in the West, and the tears now are both black and white, the white ones referring to the joy of the people having made it; they survived. The black ones refer to the continuing sorrow over the loved ones they lost along the way. When the flap is lifted, one sees four Cross-in-Circle designs. These represent the Creek people made whole again, their towns restored; life goes on. The Creeks had many towns, and it was impossible to put a design for each town, so I used the sacred number four, a whole number, to represent the entire people.
Copy and photos supplied by Doug Rogers.