A young man is standing at a creek in Muscogee Creek Nation, staring out into the Gulf of Mexico with a smile on his face.
It’s a beautiful day, he says.
It seems so peaceful, like all the other days, even today.
It hasn’t been for some time now, but he’s already got a family and a business.
He’s working as a driver, he tells me.
His job is to bring muscoges to the area where his family lives, and he’s been working hard, earning more than $100 a day.
But there’s no place to get his muscogens, and for the last few years, it has been hard to find them.
The last time he was here, he found a muscogue and started collecting them in a nearby field.
He bought them, and has been collecting them ever since.
“There’s been a lot of people trying to get them,” he says of the muscogs he collected, but that the market for them is not as large as he had expected.
And as for where he might be able to get the next batch, he has no idea.
He has no clue where he’ll be able buy the next shipment, or if he’ll even be able find the buyer.
In the past few years there have been signs that things are changing, says David St. Clair, a Muscogee Nation elder who oversees the territory.
St. Claire says that in the past several years, the economy has picked up and the number of people living on Muscoges Creek Nation has doubled, to about 6,000.
That means more people are living in the community.
“The numbers are rising, so we’ve got more people living here,” he told me.
“There’s more people here.
We’re trying to maintain a decent level of life, but we don’t have a lot.”
While many residents have been making money from their work, there’s been little money for the people who live on Muscols Creek.
Many have been forced to rely on charity, St. Clare says.
People are trying to make ends meet, but they don’t make much.
In fact, many residents in Muscoles Creek have been living on the edge, with no income and no way to pay rent.
In many cases, the people have been left to fend for themselves.
One of the most vulnerable people is a young woman, whose only income comes from donations to a local soup kitchen.
She’s a mother of two children.
One is in preschool, and the other is a toddler, and she has no money to support them.
She’s living with her aunt on a trailer on the Muscogye River, because her aunt is also in the soup kitchen, but it’s very difficult to afford food.
She has nowhere to go and no one to call to help.
“I’m just not sure how long I’ll last,” she says, and then she starts crying.
I ask her if she has any idea where she might be going next.
She knows she won’t be able get her muscogo.