OXFORD, Alabama (AP) – Native Americans whose ancestors were forced out of the Southeast almost 200 years ago are back for a festival with a name that sums up its purpose: “We have come back.”

Dozens of Muscogee (Creek) Nation citizens have traveled from their homes in Oklahoma and elsewhere for a celebration this weekend in the east Alabama city of Oxford.

It was once part of a Muscogee community dating back 12,000 years.

But its residents were part of an estimated 23,000 Muscogee people forced to move to Oklahoma in the 1830s to make way for white settlers.

A tribal leader says the festival is a step toward re-establishing a presence in the nation’s homeland.