Tar Creek

Topic: EducationStudent
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Last updated: December 2, 2020

This is a play to help us remember and learn. Written By: Aisha Whittle, Timmy Huffman and Stephanie Newly. Research by: Doug and Stephanie Newly and Ashley Sheldon Edited By: Laura Hunt and This play is set with a Guffaw elder sitting with children around a fire and telling them the story of their land and their people. Cast: Narrator one: Elder Narrator two: Elder Narrator three: Elder Narrator four: Elder Narrator five: Elder Horse: Native in Field: Miners: Scientist from EPA: Lawmaker: Fisherman: Townspeople: Scene opensNarrator One: Children let me tell us the story of our people. Long, long ago we were a tribe of many. We lived off of the land with Mother Nature as a provider to our people.

We used to live over the many lands of Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. We were called the downstream people. (Guffaw people lifting bags and moving then, living peacefully farming, and hunting. ) Narrator Two: When white men came in, we were forced to move to what’s called the Ohio Valley and some of us to Louisiana; white men came again and moved us to Oklahoma.We lived here on our ewe reservation where we hunted wild deer, small game and buffalo. Our men fished the rivers and creeks and our women farmed to grow vegetables and fruits.

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This is how the Guffaw survived. Narrator Three: We lived on this land for many, many years where we became the Guffaw nation. One day in the sass’s the white men came again and this time they wanted some of our land to mine.

By the early sass’s the mining became heavy in our territories. They wanted to take some of the metals and minerals from our land. They gave us money and guaranteed that they would clean up the land that they destroyed.Enter Miners handing out money then chipping away at minerals and stone. ) Narrator Four: Dozens of mining companies and hundreds of miners came to live in the surrounding areas to extract zinc, iron and lead from the mines. They dug deep into mother earth and left all of the left over remains in huge mountains of chat.

(Enter horse and farmer. Horse eats casually then strolls up to farmer. ) Narrator Five: One day, long after the miners had stripped our land, we began to notice that our animals were sick and some dying. Our people and especially our children were getting very sick also.Then one day a rancher, who lived in the area, noticed that his horses had orange stained hooves and legs after coming in from the pastures. He went out searching on his land to find what could have caused this to happen to his animals.

Narrator One: He found deep orange- red marshy areas that he had never seen before. The rancher was concerned so he called the government to send out some environmentalists to find out what was wrong with the land. The Environmentalists began testing the land and doing research to find answers. This is when they discovered that our land was sick.Narrator Two: When the miners had dug into mother Earth, they left huge holes and tunnels all under the surface of the Earth.

When they did not fill in the mining tunnels after they were finished, the mines began to fill with water. Under water streams, rain water and the runoff water from the chat piles began to flood the mines. The water running over these loose metals caused them to mix with the water.

Narrator Three: Eventually this mixture of metals and water dissolved into fine particles that then collected in the water system, slowly contaminating the streams and rivers.The Orange-red color in the water and seeping into the Earth was caused by iron. The tests showed that there were high contents of lead, zinc, iron, and other metals in our land and in our water.

Narrator Four: This was a serious problem for our people because we lived by war of the land, its water, its wildlife and its soils. The Guffaw Indians depended on the land and these water sources for drinking, bathing, as well as survival of the animals, watering crops and fishing. Narrator Five: Now the poison running throughout our lands is the cause of the sickness in our people.These miners stripped our land and contaminated our way of life. Our children are sick and some are dying. Having known no better the children had played on these poisoned chat piles, as though they were a sand box, thinking they were safe. Narrator One: Now their blood is poisoned because they breathe in the air that carries lead particles from the chat piles.

The homes that they live in are next to these mountains so they have no way to escape the contamination unless they move away from the land. Guffaw Indians did not know how to keep from getting sick except for leaving.We did not want to lose our land again afraid for the heritage of our tribe. Narrator Two: We cannot stay or we will for sure be sick and die.

We had to get help so the chiefs and heads of our tribe had to work with the government to find a way to heal our land. The lawyers and the EPA had come to help find ways to make the mining companies fix the mistakes that they made on our land. Narrator Three: The damage is so deep that it will take billions of dollars to clean up, and more than a hundred years to heal. We get help with medical treatment, but there are so any more people that will need future medical care.Many of us have left our land and our culture is on the decline. In some ways this loss has caused a huge hole in our people. Our manner has died and we have not replaced her.

Narrator Four: We will continue to learn and research how to heal our land. However, it is doubtful that our people could ever recover fully. Today, there are many associations that work with the Guffaw nation in hopes of someday restoring our once beautiful, thriving land to the way it was. All Narrators: Please tell our story so that we are not forgotten.

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