Congressman Austin Scott on Passage of Legislation for Middle Georgia
WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congressman Austin Scott (GA-08) and Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) welcomed the unanimous passage of the bipartisan H.R. 482, the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historic Park Boundary Revision Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. Their bill would expand the boundaries of the Ocmulgee National Monument from approximately 700 acres to over 2,800 acres; change the name from “Ocmulgee National Monument” to “Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park” in order to increase name recognition and draw additional visitors; and authorize a resources study to expand the park even further and include additional opportunities for hunting, camping, fishing, and other recreational activities. The bill goes on to the Senate for consideration.
“Our legislation is a welcomed example of what can be achieved when a local community, state leaders, and Members of Congress, from both sides of the aisle, collaborate towards a worthy goal, and today’s vote marks an important milestone in many years of effort to bring about increased recognition and enhanced cultural preservation of the Ocmulgee National Monument,” said Congressman Austin Scott. “It was an honor to work with Congressman Bishop on legislation that will provide significant economic, educational, and cultural benefits to Middle Georgia.”
“The Ocmulgee Mounds are one of the archaeological and cultural treasures of Georgia,” said Congressman Sanford Bishop. “Today’s bipartisan passage of the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historic Park Boundary Revision Act is a win for the historic preservation of the Ocmulgee Mounds and the economy of Middle Georgia!”
The future Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park expansion and improvement will be a fitting tribute to the Native Americans who first came to the historical site during the Paleo-Indian period, and will serve as a lasting memorial to how individuals relate to the land and other natural resources. The expanded park also will generate tourist revenue for Macon, Georgia and the surrounding areas while educating visitors on the little known fact that different cultures have occupied this land for thousands of years. The mounds and earth-lodges that the Mississippians built to serve as formal council chambers when they arrived in Macon around 900 A.D. remain intact for all to see and appreciate.
Ocmulgee National Monument was originally authorized by Congress in 1934 to protect a fraction of the lands commonly known as the 'Old Ocmulgee Fields,' upon which certain Indian mounds of great historical importance are located. The legislation envisioned a large park of approximately 2,000 acres but local citizens could finance the acquisition of only 678 acres by the time it opened in 1936. Today, the Ocmulgee National Monument contains 702 acres. The role of the Ocmulgee National Monument is to "present a story of many stages of prehistoric cultural development, emphasizing the influences of agriculture, the Mound Builder period, and the relationship of these various cultures to each other and to life today."
On October 10, 2014, the measure was endorsed by the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee [Creek], and Seminole Nations), representing over 500,000 Indian people throughout the United States. To view the resolution of endorsement, please click here.