The flag of the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma now flies atop Macon’s City Hall. 

The flag, a symbol of the Muscogee and Yuchi people, was raised after a special ceremony Friday honoring the tribe of 97,000 people presently living in Oklahoma. 

The bond between Macon, Ga., and the Muscogee Nation has strengthened during the effort to create Georgia’s first national park at the Ocmulgee Mounds site, which the Muscogee consider part of their ancestral home. 

But as a nation, the Muscogee have not lived in Georgia for 200 years, as was explained in the reading of the land acknowledgement the Bibb County Commission recently voted to enshrine into the county code.

“In 1821, the Muscogee Creek people were forced to relinquish this land,” the reader said to those assembled at the start  of the ceremony Friday.

“We recognize the sustained oppression, land, dispossession and involuntary removals of Muskogee Creek, peoples from Georgia and the Southeast.”

The flag of the Muscogee Nation.

The flag of the Muscogee Nation.

Credit: Jason Vorhees/The Telegraph

Members of Congress, state legislators and other dignitaries including Macon Mayor Lester Miller spoke — so many that Muscogee Principal Chief David Hill joked it was tough to speak next. 

But speak he did.

“This land is a place that we occupied for thousands of years; we built towns and commerce here,” Hill said. “Our words are permanently etched on the landscape of the state of Georgia.”

Even so, he said, people may wonder why he and others still feel a connection to Georgia after 200 years of forced absence. 

“This is where our people are buried," Hill said. "Our stories are still here.”

The Ocmulgee National Park effort was projected to wrap up in the last Congress but was left out of the year-end spending bill. Supporters both in Georgia and Oklahoma hope it is finalized by the new U.S. Congress.

Macon-Bibb Mayor Pro Tempore Seth Clark said, barring action by some future Bibb County Commission, the Muscogee flag will fly over Macon City Hall forever.