The Lee County coroner has confirmed to News 3 that the Porch Band of Creek Indians has agreed to cover the entire burial cost of the 23 victims of Sunday’s Beauregard tornado.
Two days ago, Harris said that two unnamed contributors had agreed to split the cost. The Poarch Band of Creek Indians was one of those entities. The other one did not respond after the initial offer, Harris said.
“The Poarch Band originally offered to pay $50,000,” Harris said. “Today, they called back and said, ‘How much do you need?”
The tribe will donate $184,000 to the East Alabama Medical Center Foundation to assist in the burial of the victims.
“That should cover it,” Harris said.
Harris declined to name the company that did not follow through.
The tribe announced the generous move on its Facebook page late today.
“It is at times of greatest need that we often see our communities coming together to help one another, this is one of those times,” Stephanie A. Bryan, Tribal Chair and CEO, Poarch Band of Creek Indians said in the social media post. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected.”
The donation is being made to the East Alabama Medical Center Foundation. An East Alabama Medical Center spokesman confirmed they will administer the funds.
The Poarch Creek Indians are descended from the original Creek Nation that covered Alabama and Georgia. Unlike other tribes, the Poarch Creeks were never removed from their lands and have maintained their presence in the area for 200 years in and around the Poarch, Alabama reservation.
Federally, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians is the only officially recognized Indian Tribe in the state of Alabama, operating as a sovereign nation with an independent government and bylaws, according to the Tribe’s organizational website. The Tribe operates a few different businesses, employing “hundreds of area residents,” including three gaming facilities in Alabama.
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians owns and operate the following casinos: Wind Creek Casino & Hotel, Atmore; Wind Creek Casino & Hotel, Wetumpka; and, Wind Creek Casino & Hotel, Montgomery.