OXFORD, AL (WBRC) - Part of Oxford’s newest park is now part of a trail seeking to remember Alabama’s history of indigenous people.
Thursday, members of the Muscogee Indian nation joined Oxford city officials in cutting the ribbon on a large mound, rebuilt at Choccolocco Park.
Both of the mounds at the park comprise the Choccolocco Archaeological Complex and include kiosks telling their history.
The complex landed the park on the Alabama Indigenous Mound Trail, part of a statewide trail that also includes the mounds located in Moundville.
Members of the Muscogee Creek Nation said they felt bittersweet about returning from Oklahoma to revisit their ancestral lands.
“This is really a bittersweet moment, for me, for us,” said Del Beaver, Muscogee Creek Nation national council representative for the Okmulgee District.
“We’re coming back to our homelands, and I think we all understand why we left our homelands. But looking around at the place, I’ve got to be honest with you, I love what you did with it,”Beaver added.
Choccolocco Park is mostly a sports complex with multiple baseball and softball fields, and a long walking track around a man-made lake. Just after the Thursday ribbon cutting, a cross-country meet was held on the track.
“This is sacred ground. I hope y’all take care of it,” said Arnold Taylor, another member of the Muscogee Creeks.
“Just saying ‘welcome’ doesn’t seem like it’s enough, so what I want to do is to say ‘thank you,’” Mayor Alton Craft said to the Muscogee Creek members who were present.
Also present were representatives of the University of Alabama, who help oversee the statewide trail.
The mounds were reconstructed as part of the construction of Choccolocco Park and the development of the area around the Oxford Exchange.