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Native Americans in Alabama pay funeral costs for tornado victims



Cerith Gardiner - published on 03/14/19

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians have helped victims' families concentrate on grieving their loved ones.

Recent tornadoes destroyed the homes of many in Alabama and led to the deaths of 23 people, including a family of seven. While the shock and devastation across Lee County will continue to have a huge impact on the families and communities in the area, one thing they won’t have to worry about is funeral costs, thanks to the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

Members of the tribe are descendants of the Creek Nation, originating in Georgia and Alabama. They are the only federally recognized tribe in Alabama; members govern themselves and implement their own bylaws. Active in their communities, the Poarch Band Creek said it was natural for them to  reach out to the Lee County Coroner, Bill Harris, to offer a donation to pay for the funerals of the victims.

Initially offering $50,000, the tribe later contacted the coroner to find out how much it would cost to meet all the funeral costs. “I gave them a figure and they graciously made it happen,” Harris shared with The donation ended up being $180,000, and was transferred to East Alabama Medical Center Foundation, who will make sure the families of the victims will not have to incur any costs, and can concentrate on grieving the loss of their loved ones.


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