Neighbors. Leaders. Purposeful stewards of our rich cultural heritage.
discover a sense of connection to all who call Alabama home
We are the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, Alabama’s only federally recognized Tribe and the only separate, sovereign Indian nation within the State of Alabama.
Like so many Poarch people, our Tribal Chair, Stephanie Bryan, grew up near Atmore in a small house on a red dirt road surrounded by extended family. Our community may not have had much, but what we had, we shared. Stephanie learned a lot about sharing from her beloved Uncle Otha. He had a green thumb and a big garden. She loved tilling the soil by his side and planting fruits and vegetables in the hot sun. Uncle Otha was proud of his produce, canning and freezing it for the winter ahead. Whenever he heard that one of our families was in need, he would head into the garden, pick what was good and ripe and leave it at the family’s front door. Stephanie came to see the importance of growing the essentials at home and helping others when she could — often without them having to ask. Although Uncle Otha never fancied himself a teacher, like many of our ancestors, his gentle wisdom is woven into our abiding belief in growing and sharing for the good of the community.
The 1980s was a pivotal decade for us. We became Alabama’s only federally recognized Tribe in 1984. Four years later, Congress passed legislation offering federally recognized tribes a path out of poverty by allowing them to enter the gaming business by way of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). It allowed self-determined tribes like ours to use gaming proceeds to pay for essential services on our reservation like police and fire protection, infrastructure, and healthcare. Though gaming is not the industry we would have chosen to create our economic turnaround story, it was the opportunity provided.
“We started with a little bingo hall in the 1980s and our community began to improve as we grew.”
In 2007, we received financing to build Wind Creek Atmore, a hotel and casino in the middle of a former cotton field that we played in as kids. We had faith and a dream that we could bring something special to our community. As we have expanded across the state and beyond, we continue to reinvest our gaming proceeds in ways that improve the quality of life not only for our Tribal members but also for our Alabama neighbors — jobs, educational opportunities, and essential services that benefit communities across the state. We at Poarch are driven by the need to do more.
Our Tribe has a unique place in the state. We are a nation with lands that border other communities, and we care deeply about the people who call these communities home. But our care and concern for others is not defined by borders or proximity. We are part of Alabama’s history, its present and its future. We believe that to whom much is given, much is expected, and we feel it is both our obligation as a community of faith, and our mission as Alabama’s Tribe to improve the lives of all Alabamians. We are Alabama Natives, and we are your Alabama Neighbors.
Poarch Neighbors was first conceived as a way to get to know our fellow Alabamians and for them to get to know us. The stories of our neighbors—their hopes, dreams, and challenges—are also our stories. This effort to build bonds with our broader community is now a central part of our philanthropic and economic development initiatives, and a core mission. Today, we proudly partner with communities and organizations across Alabama and beyond, building connections that have, and continue, to cultivate success.
We invite you to share in these stories, and to discover a sense of connection to the wonderful people who call Alabama home.