Multiple Indigenous Stone Structure Sites Confirmed in Eastern Alabama

Stone cairns, mounds, effigies and terrace walls have been confirmed in the Alabama counties composing the southern tip of the Appalachian Mountains and Foothills.  These sites are in Lee, Chambers, Tallapoosa, Randolph, Clay, Calhoun and Cleburne Counties.  Their greatest concentration is along Chatahospee Creek in Tallapoosa and Lee Counties.  Chatahospee is a Muskogee word that means “Stone Walls.”

The first and last nationally published archaeological report on any of these sites was in 1909.  The archaeologist assumed that these were indigenous structures and went to the trouble to study them in detail.  His findings might explain the purpose of the literally thousands of cairns in Northeast Alabama, North Georgia and elsewhere.

This satellite image appears to reveal a terrace complex near Chatahospee Creek in Chambers County, AL. The terraces are 8-10 feet wide. That dimension is too narrow to have been created by mid-20th century tractors.
This satellite image appears to reveal a terrace complex near Chatahospee Creek in Chambers County, AL. The terraces are 8-10 feet wide. That dimension is too narrow to have been created by mid-20th century tractors.
The tree foliage is a different shade of green on a earthen form near Chatahospee Creek in Chambers County, AL.
The tree foliage is a different shade of green on a earthen form near Chatahospee Creek in Chambers County, AL.

 

On October 15, 2015,  the Chattahoochee Valley Historical Society held a public meeting at the library in Valley, Alabama to announce the on-going study of a Native American stone structure complex north of LaFayette, AL in Chambers County.  An archeologist, employed by the federal government, had agreed to examine the site. The following text was included in the advertisement of the program:

About a decade ago a member of The Chattahoochee Valley Historical Society Board of Directors followed a clue found in printed material in the Cobb Memorial Archives to rediscover a mysterious site of stones long ignored and almost forgotten by the inhabitants of Chambers County.  The Board member with family made lengthy treks through cottonmouth infested swamps to reach and walk over the undisturbed site.  In the nineteenth century this odd array of stones covering acres of land next to a creek was approachable by field roads and was visited by picnic parties of school children and families.”

Since the rediscovery of the site, the CVHS Board has identified the landowner and secured permission for access to the sight for purposes of study and documentation.   Teresa Paglione, as a professional archeologist, was asked by the Board to provide leadership in documentation of the site. The landowner is committed to protecting the site because of its unique value in understanding the history of Chambers County and this region.  The location of the site and name of the owner will not be publicized and access to the site is made by permission of owner through CVHS officers. A rattlesnake has been observed in the stones.”

 “The LaFayette Ceremonial Stone Complex consists of a single massive linear stone row in somewhat of a crescent shape-with both ends leading downhill to a creek.  Across from this linear stone work and the creek are at least 49 stone piles.  Archaeologists are certain that Native Americans erected these stone works but when they were constructed is not easily documented.  Dozens of these works have been identified in North Alabama. The LaFayette Ceremonial Complex is the largest known work of this type so far south in the topography of our state.  This stone work and site date from perhaps a thousand or more years ago. The historic Native Americans would have recognized these ancient sacred sites, given them names and may have contributed to the works.” 

Immediately after the CVHS program, a geology professor at Auburn University and five Creek descendants in Lee and Russell Counties contacted me . . . all with the same message.   There were many stone structure complexes in eastern Alabama, but the archaeologists were ignoring them .   They wanted me to survey those counties and document the sites . . . for free, of course.

The geology professor was particularly frustrated.  He had been subscribing to POOF for three years and knew that I had said that many of the stone structures long predated the arrival of Itza Maya refugees.  However,  just mentioning my name to his friends, who were anthropology professors, would cause them to go into blind rage.  He could not get them to look at the POOF website or the book that I wrote on the Track Rock Terrace Complex.  He said that they even refused to watch the History Channel program about the Mayas in Georgia.  So they were still unaware that University of Minnesota scientists had proven that Maya  traders and miners had come to Georgia for many centuries.

I told the people who contacted me that I constantly get asked to do free work around the Lower Southeast, but just could not afford it.  Since the 2008 clobbered the construction industry,  I have barely survived on an extremely modest income by growing much of my food.  All my architecture and historic preservation clients went bankrupt.  I suggested that they organize a group to document these sites, using Google Maps and conventional photos, if allowed on the properties.   They agreed to do so.  Meanwhile, I would look for archaeological reports in the past that verified that these were indeed prehistoric ruins.

There is another problem involved here.  I do not disturb archaeological sites.  While practicing architecture In Virginia,  I always relied on highly competent archaeologists to tell me what was under the ground or inside a man-made earthwork.  We worked together as a team.   I was shocked when I returned home to the Deep South and found that the archaeologists here refused to work with historic preservation architects and engineers, who are professionals with special skills and education that they don’t have.

So . . .  even if the Alabama volunteers and I documented these stone sites,  Alabama archaeologists would immediately say that we was not qualified to do so and that the stone structures were not Native American.  A few years ago, an anthropologist, who taught classes within the Geology Dept. at Jacksonville(AL) State University excavated a mountaintop stone structure site.  His report got very little attention outside of NE Alabama because of the department in which he taught.   I am not certain that even Teresa Paglione is being taken seriously by her peers, because she works as a Cultural Resource Specialist in the US Dept. of Agriculture.

Survey results

We already knew that there were many stone structure sites in the Georgia counties immediately east of these Alabama counties.  However, only one has been designated an official archaeological site.   Georgia archaeologists seem to ignore them like the plague.

The volunteers did not actually do a comprehensive countywide survey of East Alabama, but by contacting history buffs and outdoorsy folks in several counties, they were able to develop a more complete picture of what might be found in the region. Almost none of these sites have official archaeological site numbers. The stone mounds and cairns are endemic in the region and strongly resemble those in the Atlanta Area.  There are several terrace complexes, but they are not as large as the ones in Georgia.  There are also several sites like the one examined Ms. Paglione, which seem to be religious shrines rather that functional structures.

So the problem was still one of credibility.   No PhD in Anthropology had declared these dozens or hundreds of stone structure sites to be of Native American origin.  It was the same problem that we are having in getting National Register of Historic Places protection for stone structures in West Georgia.

Then last week,  I stumbled upon a reference in an archaeological report in Georgia from the 1920s, which referenced an archaeologist working in Columbus, GA area around the turn of the century.   He had published a report that included discussions of  stone cairns and mounds in Alabama in the first issue of American Anthropologist magazine in April 1909.

Paul Brannon turned out to be a professional writer turned archaeologist, back in the era when there were very few people with advanced degrees in Anthropology.  The chief archaeologist at the Smithsonian Institute was a self-taught expert on the insects of Illinois.  Government employees were hired back then, based on being Union veterans and being a member of whatever political party was in power.

Unlike the archaeologists of future generations,  Brannon was especially interested in the stone structures of East Alabama.  He documented their locations and excavated them in 1905.  Both the mounds and the cairns of that region were definitely Native American structures.   Brannon found that stone mounds were used for burials and included grave offerings.  The stone cairns contained much charcoal and small bits of bone.   Apparently,  they were used for cremations of bodies.   In other words, they were funeral pyres.

Brannon also excavated the Abercrombie Mound and Village site near Phenix City, AL for several years.  The mound was begun around 900 AD and thus is Alabama’s oldest known Mississippian Culture site.  Its early artifacts are very similar to those from the same period at Ocmulgee National Monument in Macon, GA.

Brannon’s investigations were based on the earlier work of one of Alabama’s pioneer archaeologists,  Dr. William L. Broun, the President of the Alabama Agricultural and Technical College between 1882 and 1902.   That school is known today as Auburn University!   Broun systematically excavated earthen and stone mounds in East Central Alabama in order to prove that they were built by ancestors of the Creek Indians,  not Welsh Prince Madoc’s followers or the Lost Tribes of Israel.

Thus,  two of Alabama’s pioneer archaeologists were aware of the abundance of stone structures in East Central Alabama and proved that they were constructed by Native Americans.  This fact confirms that at least the majority of stone structure complexes, being identified by volunteers in that region are indeed prehistoric archaeological sites, deserving of protection through historic designation.

Wacoochee-SatelliteImage2
This satellite image has been turned 90 degrees on its axis.

Goat Rock Gorge Archaeological Zone

In 1909, Paul Brannon spent a considerable period of time near the confluence of Wacoochee Creek and the Chattahoochee River.  This location is scenic Goat Rock Gorge, where the Chattahoochee River cuts through the most southerly vestige of Pine Mountain, before heading southward to the Gulf of Mexico.  Georgia Power Company built a dam at the southern end of the gorge in 1911.

Brannon excavated a 50 feet+ diameter mound that was veneered with large stones . . . some of them weighed over 200 pounds.  Adjacent to the burial mound was a large prehistoric cemetery.  It is unlike that a village was here because the terrain is so rough.

Wacoochee-SatelliteImage

The shrine seems to be the ancient boundary between to ethnic groups.  Goat Rock Mound is the most southerly stone veneered mound.   There are stone cairns on the hilltops overlooking the gorge,  but apparently none farther south.   In contrast, the region from the Flint River in Georgia westward to the Coosa River Valley in Alabama is chock full of ancient stone structures.

While excavating some of the burials at the Goat Rock Cemetery, Brannon found several forms of burials and styles of burial goods that varied according to their depth in the ground.   This suggests that while cultural traditions and possibly even ethnic groups changed over the centuries in Eastern Alabama, the stone structure sites remained in use.

There is still much that is unknown about the people who created these enigmatic stone structure sites in the Lower Southeast.  Unfortunately, archaeologist Teresa Paglione is an exception.  Because so many archaeologists in the lower Southeast ignore these sites or try to lump them into existing labels based on pottery styles,  very little new knowledge is being acquired.  Meanwhile archaeologists in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia have labeled the builders of stone cairns, mounds and walls as a distinct indigenous culture,  distinct from indigenous peoples living elsewhere in the Southeast.

Perhaps the strangest feature at Goat Rock Gorge is this round pool, surrounded by a rocky ridge, directly across the Chattahoochee River from the Wacoochee Mound. It looks like a man-made harbor, typical of what was built during the Bronze Age in Northern and Western Europe. However, the depression may have be natural . . . perhaps the vestige of an old meteor crater.
Perhaps the strangest feature at Goat Rock Gorge is this round pool, surrounded by a rocky ridge, directly across the Chattahoochee River from the Wacoochee Mound. It looks like a man-made harbor, typical of what was built during the Bronze Age in Northern and Western Europe. However, the depression may be natural . . . perhaps the vestige of a meteor crater.

 

 

 

 

 

The Many Migration Legends of the Creek Confederacy

There is a reason why even the most fluent of Mvskoki speakers cannot translate the meanings of the majority of Creek tribal divisions.  Unlike the Choctaw and Chickasaw, MANY members of the Creek Confederacy originally were not ethnic Muskogeans. Mvskoke was merely the diplomatic language adopted by this alliance. In fact, the word, Mvskoki (Muskogee) didn’t even appear until the mid-1700s.  Those strange words are actually Hitchiti-Creek, Uchee,  Itza Maya from southern Mexico,  Panoan from Peru,  Huastec from northeastern Mexico or even Arawak.

The standard Muskogean migration legend of following a magic wooden pole eastward from the Mississippi River to the Southeast was NOT the migration legend of the majority of these tribal towns. Their ancestors came by water or foot from several parts of the Americas, or even across the Atlantic Ocean, in the case of the Uchee, Shawnee and Alabama.  However, in many of the legends there is a prevailing them of mankind living in caves and being led by sacred poles.

This is our longest newsletter ever in POOF, but one has to read all the migration legends together in order to draw the lines between the points. No ethnologist has previously presented them in such a manner so that the connections can be seen.

 

MigrationLegend-CoverDetail

One of the most astonishing facts delved in 2015 from a box, forgotten for 285 years in Lambeth Palace, was that the original People of One Fire, aka Creek Confederacy, was formed by the Chickasaw, Albaamaha (Alabama),  Kaushite (Cusseta) and Apike (Abeika) Peoples.  Their enemies were such provinces as the Kowite (Coweta), Tokahpa (Tuckabachee), Itsate (Hitchiti), Chiaha, Okvte (Oconee) and Tamai, who would later come to dominate future alliances that were also called the People of One Fire.  In other words, there were no Muskogee speakers in the original Creek Confederacy.

Reading these 285 year old documents brought a touch of sadness. In the lifetimes of the famous leaders Chikili and Tamachichi (Trade Dog [itinerant peddler] in Itza Maya) the people that the English called the Creeks had forgotten much of their cultural heritage with which anthropologists define the word, civilization.  Most no longer knew how to weave and dye cloth.  They no longer knew how to make copper tools and weapons.  They no longer lived in large planned towns with massive public structures.  A few of the elite still knew their indigenous writing system, but it would quickly disappear soon thereafter.  What they still remembered in 1735 was the multiple origins of the peoples, who composed their confederacy.  Their ancestors had come from many parts of the sub-tropical and tropical parts of the Americas.

Since the re-constitution of the federally recognized tribes in Oklahoma in the 1970s, there has been an increasing tendency for their citizens to view themselves as distinct ethnic groups with singular origins and traditions. Most Oklahoma Creeks do not seem aware that there were always multiple “migration legends” for the members of the Creek Confederacy.   The oppressed peoples who arrived in the Indian Territory during the mid-19th century were certainly aware of their varying ethnic identities, but this cultural memory has generally been lost in the 200+ years of intermarriage between tribal towns, tribes and races that have occurred since then in Oklahoma.

Note: If the real name that the Alabama People call themselves surprises you, this will surprise you even more.  Albaamaha has no meaning in their language other than being a proper noun.  It is an Itza Maya phrase and means either “Place of the God-Lord” or “Place of the Gods-River.”   Apparently, their tribe began when some Itza noble established himself as an omnipotent High King on the Alabama River.

May 2015

After transcribing the blurred handwriting of the Migration Legend of the Kaushete People, I obeyed an ancient Creek tradition.  The first copy was sent to David Yahoola, Speaker of the Muscogee-Creek National Council. His staff graciously thanked me.  Since it was important that educators know the contents of this long lost document, a copy was then sent to the College of the Muscogee-Creek Nation. There was no response.

I then called the Language Department at the University of Oklahoma.  By great luck, the young lady answering the phone was a Muscogee-Creek citizen.  She was ecstatic that the long lost Migration Legend had been found and asked for a copy.  That she got.  She then gave the names and email addresses of Language and History professors, who should receive a copy.

There was only one response from the professors.  A language professor, who was Muscogee-Creek, tersely wrote back:  “This is all wrong!  Who was your translator?

I wrote back two words . . . Mary Musgrove.   I should have added the date of the translation, June 7, 1735 because she didn’t write back.  Apparently, the professor didn’t know who Mary Musgrove was.  Since Mary Musgrove was not a citizen of the Muscogee-Creek Nation of Oklahoma or a professor with a PhD at the University of Oklahoma, she was not a real Creek and obviously a “self styled historian.”  Therefore her original translation and much more complete account of events that day should be ignored.  This funny, but true, anecdote describes the essence of the current ridiculous situation in academia.

A summary of migration legends among the “Creek Peoples”

The following is a list of migration legends, obtained by 17th century French ethnologist, Charles de Rochefort, or General James E. Oglethorpe, founder of the Province of Georgia.  Most can either be found in the UK National Archives or the Library of Lambeth Palace, which is in Surrey County (Southeastern England).

I included the Zuni because according to their tradition, they once lived in the Southeast and in fact, have a very similar Migration Legend to those of the Muskogean tribes. Several South Alabama Creeks have been found by DNA labs to carry Pima-Zuni DNA test markers.

  1. Suwani (Southern Shawnee) – The Shawnees originated from a different world . . . an island balanced on the back of a giant turtle. From there they traveled to this one. According to Shawnee myth, when the first people were on the island, they could see nothing but water, which they did not know how to cross. They prayed for aid and were miraculously transported across the water. The Shawnees are the only Algonquian tribe, whose creation story includes the passage of their ancestors over the sea, and for many years they held an annual sacrifice in thanks of the safe arrival of their ancestors to this country.

The Piqua Shawnee have a different origin legend.  They believe that they were descended from a man, who was burned, but many people rose up from his ashes.  This suggests that they were not originally Algonquians.  Many Piqua migrated to Alabama in the 1700s.

The Shawnees are also unigue among the Algonquian peoples in believing their creator was a woman, who they called [Inumsi Ilafewanu] “Kokumthena”, which means “Our Grandmother.” Kokumthena” is usually depicted as an anthropomorphic female with gray hair whose size ranges from gigantic to very small. According to Shawnee myth, the idea of creation came from the “Supreme Being”, who is called “Moneto”, but the actual work of creation was performed by Kokumthena the “Great Spirit”, and she is the most important figure in Shawnee religion.  The Creeks also believed that the Creator was a woman.

  1. Tsoyaha or Uchee (Euchee, Yuchi) – The Uchee have traditionally believed that they sailed or paddled to the Southeastern corner of North America from the Home of the Sun across the Atlantic Ocean. They also believe that they are the oldest people, still living in the Southeast. The Creeks concur with them on that belief. The Uchee call themselves, Tsoyaha, which means “Children of the Sun.”   They were called the Okv-te (Water People) by the Itsate Creeks.  Spanish chroniclers wrote this name as Ocute.  The Muskogee Creeks called them Oue-tshi, which means “Offspring from Water.”  Uchee, Euchee and Yuchi are the Anglicizations of the Muskogee word.

When the Uchee arrived to the section of the South Atlantic Coast between Port Royal Sound, SC and Altamaha Sound, GA, there was no one living in the Lower Southeast, but they could see ancient structures that had been built by a people, who had gone elsewhere.  There were also Algonquians living in the northern portion of the Southeast.  The majority of Uchee were concentrated between the Pon Pon River in South Carolina and the Ogeechee River in Georgia, but they established trading towns throughout the Southeast.

  1. Chiksa (Chikasa-Chickasaw) – Both the Chickasaw and the Choctaw believe that their mutual ancestors came out a hole in the ground. Two brothers, Chata and Chiksh led the original people from a land in the far west that had ceased to prosper.

The people traveled for a long time, guided by a magical pole, which took them farther and farther west. Each night, when the people stopped to camp, the pole was placed in the ground and in the morning the people would travel in the direction in which the pole leaned.

After traveling for an extremely long time, they finally came to a place where the pole remained upright. In this place, they laid to rest the bones of their ancestors, which they had carried in buffalo sacks from the original land in the west. The mound grew out of that great burial. After the burial, the brothers discovered that the land could not support all the people.

Chiksa took half the people and departed to the east and eventually that group became the Chickasaw tribe. They went as far east as Northeast Georgia.  We now know that sacred location of their capital as the Nacoochee Valley. After another people arrived in this valley, many Chiksa, but not all, began migrating westward and northwestward.  They established a new capital on the Tennessee River in north-central Alabama, but their villages filled up a vast territory that is now most of northern Alabama, Tennessee and western Kentucky.

  1. MikosukeeThis story is almost identical to that of the Panoan Peoples of Eastern Peru. The only difference is that their universe was held in place by a giant Anaconda snake, whereas in the Mikkosukee legend, a giant rattlesnake encircles the universe.

The ground shakes and the opening to the cave is exposed – the People slowly walk to the opening and look out onto a strange new place – this is the Mother that had been created for them – but the cave represented security – as a child cannot resist the calling of birth the People could not resist the calling of the new place. the cave now gave birth to the People – new life stepped onto the breast of Mother – a beautiful new beginning was at hand.

moundville-hand-eyeThe People were greeted by their many brothers and sisters that the Great Spirit had sent out ahead of them. Grandfather moved in the sky and kept the cycles in harmony and spoke to the People with his movement. Kiyas also moved and kept the cycles at the time of darkness and spoke to the People with his movement. Beyond Kiyas lay the Okiyas lights that were placed in order – all were in proper place and harmony for the telling of cycles and the times of planting, harvest and movement. It was into this place of creation that the Great Spirit delivered the People at the time of their cave birth.

The People could speak to and understand all of the words of their four-legged, one-legged, winged, crawler, and swimming brothers and sisters. By instruction, these brothers taught and guided the People in the ways of the Great Spirit. Each of the brothers was told to take a small family group of the People and to teach and guide them. Some of the brothers found great favor with the Great Spirit and the families of the People were to be called by the name of these favored brothers.

The wind spirit had breathed life into the People and he too was given a family of the People that would be called after his name. After family clan names were given to the People. Each family clan went out and built their village. No one was to take a wife from their own family clan – this was never to happen – nothing good could ever come from that marriage – each young man was to go to another family clan to get a wife – from this marriage good seeds could be planted in fertile place – and the spirit of the child would be a good spirit – the child would be a blessing to both family clans.

Each clan received the gift of their brother who’s name they used. Some were known as healers, some as warriors, some as leaders – each with their special gift. For many, many cycles the People lived in the way of harmony – led by those of great wisdom and following the movements of Grandfather, Kiyas and Okiyas.

The ways of war, greed and jealousy were not known. The bones of the ancients rested in peace – their ways were the ways of the beginning and that was the way of harmony and understanding the cycles of life.

Then came a time when the People selected a single leader, and this leader commanded the clans of warriors, and this leader fell in love with the movement and cycles of Grandfather – the leader looked to Grandfather for all answers – the cycles of Kiyas and the placement of Okiyas were used only for the worship of Grandfather – these things were not in harmony with the beginning and slowly pain and suffering came to the People.

  1. Albaamaha (Alibamu, Alabama) – Formerly the ocean was not as large as it is today, and at that time the Alabama Indians, who lived upon the other side, came westward across it in canoes. When they had gotten about halfway over they came upon an island where they rested and fished. Then they resumed their journey and presently reached this land.

At first they lived upon acorns, and they also roasted and ate cane sprouts. Later they made bows and arrows with which to kill deer, and having nothing with which to cut up the meat they used sharp rocks. They also had to learn how to kindle a fire. To accomplish this they used as a drill the stem of a weed called hassala`po (“plant-with-which-to-make-fire”) which is like sassafras and the wood of a tree called båksa (bass) for a base stick.

Traveling inland, they established their village near a river and lived there for a long time. Presently they came in contact with the Choctaw and warred against them, almost destroying one Choctaw town, so that the Choctaw became disheartened and wanted to make peace. For this purpose they selected a poor man, promising that, if he were successful in persuading the Albaamaha to bury their hatchets, they would give him the two daughters of a certain prominent woman. They gave him a white deerskin shirt and white deerskin leggings, plus moccasins. They put a string of white beads about his neck and a rattle in his hand.

 

  1. Aparashi (Apalache, Palache) – The word Aparashi means “Offspring of People from the Sea” in the Panoan language group from Eastern Peru. The arrival of the first South Americans to the Southeast appears to have occurred at least as early as the Middle Woodland Period. Swift Creek Culture pottery is almost identical to the pottery made by the Conibo Peopld of Peru at that time.  The Peruvians apparently introduced the Sacred Black Drink to the Southeast.  The Creek and Panoan words for it are the same.

ApalacheElite-DetailThe Aparashe believed that their ancestors came in many bands that had sailed from at varying times from a land far to the south to the coast of present day Georgia.  The home of their Sun God, Toya, was at a great lake in the midst of high mountains, far to the south. (Lake Titicaca?)   They established their first great town where Downtown Savannah is located today.  Their first emperor, who ruled all the Sea Peoples, is buried in a mound in Savannah – probably the Deptford Mound.

YauponHollyThere is physical and linguistic evidence of the Apalache’s arrival at the Savannah River.  In the 1560s, the premium quality Yaupon holly leaves for making Ase – which Latin Americans call mate’ – was grown on Ossabaw Island, just south of present day Savannah, GA.   Ossabaw gets its name from the Panoan (South American) word Asebo, which means “Place of the Sacred Black Drink.”    The equivalent Hitchiti Creek word would be Asepa.

Many of the Sea People from the south eventually coalesced in villages that ringed Lake Tama, which was former where the Ocmulgee and Oconee Rivers met in South-Central Georgia. There they coalesced into a single language and government.  Over the centuries, their capital periodically moved northward.  The colonies that they established in the Florida Panhandle intermarried with other people, but became known as the Apalache by the Spanish.

At its peak of power, the Apalache Kingdom spanned from present day SW Virginia to the Apalachicola River.  It is equivalent to the “Lamar Culture” labeled by anthropologists.  In 1735, Chikili, High King of the Creek Confederacy, stated that the Palache and Koweta were equivalent names for the same people. In other words, the Coweta Creeks were not originally Muskogeans.  Perhaps they were the descendants of Apalache commoners, who had intermarried with Muskogeans.

7a. Itsate (Itza Mayas ~ Hitchiti speakers on Ocmulgee River) – These people told the British colonists that they came from a land to the south over water.  They first settled around a large lake in Southern Florida (Okeechobee) then later moved northward to a swampy land of reeds (Everglades or Georgia Tidal Marshes). They then when northward by canoe along the Atlantic Coast until they settled at Savannah.  Here some of their “kings” are buried.

While walking around with General Oglethorpe, Tamachichi pointed to some mounds at the current Savannah Riverfront and said that some of his ancestors were buried there.  These Itzates eventually went up the Altamaha River and settled at Itza-si  (Ichese or Ochese).  They were called the Maya-koa by Arawak peoples on the Georgia Coast, when the French were there in the 1560s.   Tamachichi, who had pure Maya name, was Mako (mikko) of the Ocmulgee Itsate until 1717.

7b. Itsate (Itza Mayas ~ Hitchiti speakers on the Chattahoochee River and in Appalachians) – Their migration legend is less specific than the Itsate on at Savannah and Ocmulgee Bottoms.  They paddled from a land to the south over water and then up the Chattahoochee River until they reached the mountains.  There they have lived ever since.

Note:  Since the old name for the capital of the Mayami in southern Florida and also Ocmulgee National Monument was Waka-te (Lake People in Itza Maya) I strongly suspect that the Eastern Itsate came from the salt-trading city of Waka at the edge of the Guatemalan mountains.  The environs of Waka, Guatemala and Waka-te in Georgia were almost identical.  They both were on fall lines and the same distance from the ocean.

On the other hand, the western Itsate were probably from Chiapas, Mexico.  It was proven in 2012 that the main ingredient for Maya Blue at the Itza capital of Palenque, Chiapas was mined along the Chattahoochee River in Georgia.  The Itza in Chiapas grew large crops of Chia Salvia for food. The De Soto expedition observed large crops of Chia Salvia along mountain rivers leading to Chiaha (Salvia River in Itza.)

  1. Kusabo and Kusa (Cusabo, Kusapo) – Their name means “Place of the Strong” or “Place of the Elite” in the same Panoan language group as the Aparashi. After arriving on the South Atlantic Coast, they remained in the coastal areas of present day South Carolina. There was no specific tribe named the Kusabo. It was the name of an alliance of Panoan speaking tribes on the South Carolina Coast.  In fact, according to the research done by Professor Gene Waddell in South Carolina, the word Cusabo was seldom used in South Carolina until the indigenous peoples there were near extinction.

It is clear from the Migration Legend of the Kaushite People that they were a different people than the Kusa.  The Kusa Province was well establish, when the Kaushite became their vassals and settled in Southeastern Tennessee.  Apparently, at least the elite of the Kusa in Northwest Georgia were immigrants from the Kusabo.  This might explain why the De Soto Expedition was steered in a vast arc around the Apalache and Itsate through territory controlled by the Kusabo or their relatives the Kusa. In the late 1600s or early 1700s, most of the Kusabo moved westward and joined the Creek Confederacy.

  1. Kalosi (Calusa) – The Calusa also spoke a Panoan language. Their name means “Children of the Stars.” They also believed that they had paddled from the south to reach southern Florida. However, they believed that before then, they were originally humans, who had fallen down from the stars to Earth.
  1. Satile or Satibo (Satipo) [now called the Eufaula Creeks] – These were Panoan-speaking colonists, who arrived at a later era by paddling from a land to the south. Satibo means “Colonists – place of” in the Panoan tongues. They settled on the coast of Georgia at St. Andrews Sound and Brunswick Sound.  Fort Caroline was constructed about 21 miles to the north of them, so it couldn’t possibly have been in Florida. Their principal towns of Satibo, Ufala and Seloy (Seroy/Sehoy) were on the Satilla and Little Satilla Rivers.  The French and contemporary academicians call this people the Sati-ouriwa.  Actually, that was the title of their leader.  The word means “Colonists – King” in Panoan.  No anthropologists ever thought about the radical idea of translating the indigenous place names on the South Atlantic Coast.

The Satile also established a colony in the Great Smoky Mountains at the confluence of the Little Tennessee River and Citigo Creek.  It was also called Satipo and was visited by Spanish Captain Juan Pardo in 1567.  It was later captured by Arawak speakers, who called the town Satikoa.  This word was later Anglicized to Seticoa, Stecoah and Citigo.

After repeated attacks by the Spanish in the late 1500s, the surviving Satile moved westward and joined the People of One Fire.  Their principal town was Ufaula.  There are now towns in Alabama and Oklahoma named Eufaula.

  1. Zuni – The ancestors of the Zuni originally lived deep inside the earth in what is now Mexico. Then there bow priests fashioned sacred poles out of four different woods. The fourth pole, made of aspen, enabled them to break out of the cave into the sunlight.  The priests then taught them how to show proper reference to the Sun God.  It was at that time that they learned how to grow crops. However, they became oppressed by the peoples around them and so the Fourth Pole led them out of Mexico and then eastward.  They followed the Fourth Pole all the way to the Atlantic Ocean then turned around and headed westward.  The Fourth Pole stopped in the lands that the Zuni live in today.
  1. Kaushite (Kashitaw, Coushetta, Cusseta) – I am living a lot of details out of this legend since it is several pages long. The Kaushite were apparently the last member of the Creek Confederacy to arrive in the Southeast. Their appearance in their new home around 1300-50 AD coincided with the appearance of Lima beans and Mexican purple plums in the Southeast.  It also coincides with the sudden abandonment of Etowah Mounds and the Middle Savannah River Valley.  The warlike Kaushete made have played a role in those stark cultural changes.

The ancestors of the Kaushite were originally very primitive and lived in caves on the eastern slopes of the Orizaba Volcano in west-central Vera Cruz. One day they came out of the caves and into the sunlight where the Sun God and Corn Woman taught them how to grow crops.  However, the earth began to kill many of their children so they migrated eastward along the Bloody (Jamapo) River until they reached the ocean. They carried with them the fire that they obtained from the Orizaba Volcano and ignited all their cooking fires with it. Then they dwelled in a swampy place near the ocean for awhile.  Some wanted to stay, while other wanted to return home to the highlands.

Those that stayed near the coast were soon sorry because their neighbors killed many of their children.  Those who were returning to their homeland came again to a Great White Path that ran north-south.  This time they wondered where the Great White Path went so they followed it northward around the coast of the Gulf of Mexico until they came to a great river, which was surrounded by swampy, foggy lands.  Here they stayed for awhile until they noticed that a sacred pole was pointing eastward.

The Kaushite traveled each day in the direction that the pole pointed until they came to a place where the Alabamu, Chickasaw and Abeika were camped.  The four tribes decided to come together to become the People of One Fire.  Each people had their own fire, but the one carried by the Kaushite was the strongest, since it came from a volcano.

The four members of the confederacy then held a contest to decide who would be the elder brother (leader) of the alliance.  The tribe that obtained the most scalps of from their enemies would become the leader.  The Kaushite won and the Chickasaw came in second.  From then on, the Kaushete and Chickasaw built their towns beside each other if both were living in the same region.

Note:  In the late 20th century, Tennessee archaeologists noticed that “Dallas Culture” towns and “Mouse Creek” towns were built beside each other.   They called the Dallas Culture towns “Creek” and incorrectly, the Mouse Creek towns, “Yuchi.”   The Mouse Creek towns were identical in layout to other Chickasaw towns in the Southeast.

In 1735, High King Chikili told General Oglethorpe that when the Kowetas became the dominant member of the People of One Fire, the Chickasaws left the alliance in anger.  The Kaushite refused to attack their friends, the Chickasaws, when the other branches wanted to punish them.  As a result the Upper Creeks were still always friendly with the Chickasaws no matter who else were their enemies.  Basically, what this is saying is that had not the Chickasaws and Kowetas bickered with each other, all Chickasaws today would be considered “Creek Indians.”

At some point in the past, the Kaushite moved into the lands of the Kusa and became their vassals.  Then some of the Kaushite decided to move to other lands.  For awhile they lived on the Talasee (Little Tennessee) River but because of a drought or famine they eventually decided to move southward along a Great White Path (US Highway 129).   They eventually encountered a haughty people, who lived in a city on the side of Georgia’s highest mountain.  This has to be the Track Rock Terrace Complex or else a similar town, 7 miles to the southwest in the Nottely River Valley. The people of this town spoke a different language had flattened foreheads, so they probably were Itsate.

Copal-2014-emailWhen the leaders of the town would not give the Kaushete food, the Kaushete massacred the town.  This seems to have occurred around 1500 AD, because that is the newest radiocarbon date for a terrace at the Track Rock acropolis.

The Kaushete then moved southward to the lower range of mountains in Georgia, where the Apalache lived.  The Apalache gave the hungry Kaushete food and allowed them to settle on the west side of the Chattahoochee River.   The condition was that the Kaushete give up their bloodthirsty ways.  That they did, and so the Kaushite and Apalache have been allies ever since then.

 

And now you know . . .

Looking for Okfuskeena in all the wrong places

Between 1966 and 1969, Smithsonian Institute archaeologist, Harold Huscher,  was paid by the US Army Corps of Engineers, to survey the Chattahoochee River Valley near the planned basin of West Point Reservoir, for archaeological sites.  First priority was given to finding the “Burnt Village of Okfuskeena on Wehadka Creek” since that story had become a cultural icon in the region.  Today, “The Burnt Village” even has its own Wikipedia article.  You can read it HERE.  It was probably the largest scaled excavation ever of an 18th century Creek town site.

Huscher returned again to the archaeological site 9TP41 in 1972, just as the lake’s waters were filling up the basin.  He vainly searched for the more evidence of a Creek town that had been completely burned, but found none.  Charcoal survives the damp, acidic soil conditions of Georgia much better than raw timbers.  There should have been a large black scar in the subsoil. Then the waters covered the site and it was too late to search anymore.

All references place the location of Ofuskeena at the confluence of Whitewater Creek and the Chattahoochee River.
All references place the location of Ofuskeena at the confluence of Whitewater Creek and the Chattahoochee River.

Huscher thought he found the edge of the town site at the mouth of White Water Creek.  That was a good guess, because Wehadka is the Anglicization of  Ue-Hatke, which means “Water White” in Muskogee-Creek.   What he found were some post hole patterns, which he interpreted as rotundas for communal meetings.  Others disagree.  Other than a rich trove of Historic Period artifacts, there was not a significant amount of architectural evidence found.

University of Georgia Anthropology Professor, Mark Williams worked on the site as an undergraduate student and has the artifacts from the dig in his possession.   Williams wrote a paper on “The Burnt Village” in 2009.   It presents substantial criticisms of Huscher’s methodology and provides much detail on what the archaeological team actually found.  You may read Williams’ paper HERE.

Drawing lines between dots

When I first read accounts of “The Burnt Village” in a Troup County History Website and then in Wikipedia, something seemed very wrong about the official history of this cultural icon.  Perhaps only a Georgia Creek would immediately recognize the dubious statements in the mid-19th century newspaper article that was re-published in the May 14, 2016 edition of POOF.

Okfuskeena was an Ilape (Hillabee Creek) village. The word means “Little Okfuskee.”   I accessed several academic articles from Alabama universities, which listed Little Okfuskee  on the Little Tallapoosa River and Okfuskeena on the Chattahoochee as separate towns.  Oops!   One of them was from a professor, who describes herself as an expert on Creek culture and language.

The Ilape were not attacking Georgians in 1793.   I should know.  My Creek ancestors were hunkered down in Wilkes County, GA forts along with their white neighbors that year.

Since the beginning of the American Revolution,  Muskogee-speaking Upper Creeks from North-Central Alabama had repeatedly launched bloody raids on the Hitchiti-speaking Creek allies of the American Patriots and their white neighbors in Northeastern and Middle Georgia.  These Upper Creek renegades were allied with the Chickamauga Cherokees and continued their attacks until late 1793, when both groups were thoroughly defeated at the Battle of Etowah Cliffs.

The newspaper article claimed that the white attackers “only” killed all the adult males . . . and “tried” to avoid killing women and children.   They attacked individual houses as the occupants slept in the dark.  Horse manure . . . this was a Southern Fried version of the Massacre at Sand Creek in Colorado.   How did they discern a man from a woman or teenagers in the pitch dark of a house’s interior?  Methinks that they were not wearing night vision goggles.

“Hey Injuns, before we’uns butcher y’all in the middle of the night, is this actually the village of Okfuskeena?  We’uns kinda got lost back thar.”

There was also something wrong about the description of Okfuskeena.   It was said to be a major Hillabee town located where several important trade paths converged.   The excuse used by the militiamen, who massacred the village was that it was a staging area for attacks into the rest of Georgia.

The attacking militiamen men were from Greene County, GA on the Oconee River northeast of Macon.  I looked at the maps of Georgia from that era.  Not one major trade or war path passed through the supposed location of Okfuskeena.  The route used by Upper Creek renegades to attack Greene County crossed the Chattahoochee River at Tuckabatchee.  The site of Tuckabatchee is now in Douglas County in Southwest Metropolitan Atlanta.

The 1755 John Mitchell Map was one of the last maps to show Tuckabatchee being located in present day Alabama.
The 1755 John Mitchell Map was one of the last maps to show Tuckabatchee being located in  Alabama.  The Upper Creek Path directly connected hostile Upper Creeks with Greene County.

There have been thousands of people to graduate in history, geography and anthropology in Alabama and Georgia during the past 160 years.  Not one of them ever looked at a map and realized that Tuckabatchee moved to the Chattahoochee River in Georgia at the beginning of the American Revolution.   It was accompanied by several other Pro-Patriot towns on the Tallapoosa River.  Beginning in 1776, maps either don’t show Tuckabatchee being in Alabama or else label “Tuckabatchee Old Fields” – which means it was abandoned.

Not only did the official 1785 and 1795 maps of Georgia show Tuckabatchee on the Chattahoochee River, but the 1795 one showed Okfuskeena on the Tallapoosa River in Georgia.

1785-Tuckabatchee

1795-Okfuskina
(1) Oakfuskeena is shown on the Tallapoosa River in Georgia. (2) Greene County is labeled on this map. (3) The Upper Creek Trading Path connected Greene County to Northern Alabama via the crossing on the Chattahoochee River at Tuckabatchee.

Beginning with the 1800 Official Map of Georgia,  Okfuskeena was placed much farther south, near the Alabama line, and on the west side of the Chattahoochee River.  An accompanying note stated that the town was burned on September 27, 1793 by Georgians.  A map prepared in 1812, at the beginning of the Red Stick War, did not mention Okfuskeena, but still showed Tuckabatchee in Georgia on the west bank of the Chattahoochee River.  Tuckabatchee was used as the staging area for an invasion of Alabama by federal troops.

1810-Okfuskeena

1812-Tuckabachee-Coweta

The riddle of the actual location of Okfuskeena was somewhat ended in 1827, when Congress refused to ratify the fraudulent 1825 Treaty of Indian Springs and ordered a survey of Creek lands in Georgia.  The surveyors found that Okfuskeena still existed, because it was a Friendly Creek town during the Red Stick War.   It was located where Carrollton, GA is located today.  Since the Creek town was at the conjunction of several important roads, it made an ideal location for the development of the Troup County Seat,  Carrollton.

Apparently, Ue-Hatke,  located at the presumed location of the Okfuskeena Massacre, was also not burned by “the Georgians.”   It still existed in 1827.

1828-Okfuskeena

The most likely victim of the Greene County Militia was the Friendly Creek village of Sulakaka, near where Six Flags Over Georgia is now located.  It was on the west side of the Chattahoochee and on the Upper Creek Trade Path, which Chickamauga Creeks used to raid eastern Georgia.  That location would have been an ideal staging area for raids.  The non-hostile Hilabee Creeks probably just stood aside when Upper Creek war parties came through town. There was a ford on the Chattahoochee River there, through which the militiamen could have waded across to reach Sulakaka.

Thus, the real story of Offuskeena is that a frontier militia army massacred a non-hostile Creek village during the night in order to get revenge for raids made by Upper Creek renegades.   The reason that the attackers did not suffer any deaths was that their victims did not expect to be attacked and had no guards posted.   It was an almost identical situation to a massacre 70 years later in Eastern Colorado . . . the Sand Creek Massacre  (November 29, 1864).

There is one final note of irony.    In 1939,  archaeologist Robert Wauchope, surveyed the probable location of Offuskeena on the northern edge of Carrollton, GA in the flood plain of the Little Tallapoosa River.  The archaeological zone was in the vicinity of the “Old Racetrack” and “Old Kingsberry Place.”  He assigned it the label of 9CL10. The north side of Carrollton contains many Native American artifacts from several time periods.   Of course,  that location may be the “suburbs” of a larger town that was located on a prominence, where Downtown Carrollton is located today.

9CL10

Wauchope’s archaeological zone is about 2 miles from the University of West Georgia’s Department of Anthropology.  Much of the zone along the Little Tallapoosa River is in a Green Belt.   Sounds like a convenient location for those professors and students to do some “poking around.”

Now you know! 

Okfuskeena . . . the massacre of a Creek town in 1793

There is no doubt that the sacking of Fort Mims in 1813 should be called a massacre.  However, what most history books leave out is the conveniently forgotten histories of dozens of Southeastern Native American towns being ravaged between the end of the American Revolution in and 1818.  Some were hostiles.  Most were either non-combatants or actually allies of the United States. 

In 1793, a Cherokee village, containing  no adult men, but 300+ children, women and the elderly, on Bear Creek near present-day Ellijay, GA was exterminated.  The death toll among the Hillabee Creeks in 1814 probably exceeded that at Fort Mims.   The women and children of the Chiaha Creeks in Southwest Georgia were massacred, while their husbands were in Florida fighting the Seminoles for the United States.    Then there is the case of Okfuskeena on the Chattahoochee River. 

The newspaper account of its sacking was published during the Creek Trail of Tears.  It clearly illustrates the propaganda that persuaded Congress to go along with Andy Jackson in the deportation of all indigenous peoples from the Southeast.  Although the article claims that they “only” killed all the adult men,  the militiamen actually killed about everybody.   Not only that, either the Georgians destroyed the wrong town or Georgia archaeologists have been looking at the wrong place for Okfuskeena.   It is another classic case of why Southeastern archaeologists should start learning the Creek languages and reading historic maps, before putting their shovels in the ruins of Creek towns.

Part Two will explain the amazing story of why  Georgia archaeologists have been looking for Okfuskeena in all the wrong places. Well,  there are a couple of other things, too.  The Hillabee Creeks at Okfuskeena were not the ones raiding the Georgia Frontier.  The Chickamauga Creeks and the Chickamauga Cherokees were the hostiles.  Also,  Posketa is in June or July . . . not September! 

1810-Okfuskeena

The Burning of Okfuskeena: September 27, 1793

The burnt village lies six or eight miles west of LaGrange, in the county of Troup, on the west bank of the Chattahoochee River, where the great Wehadkee Creek pours its waters into that river.

Previous to the year 1793, it was the great central point of the Muscogee nation, the crossing place of all trading and marauding parties of that nation on the west, where the untamed savages met to arrange and mature their plans for making those nocturnal attacks upon the helpless and unprotected settlers on the outskirts of the white settlements, by which consternation and dismay were spread throughout the land; and the sparse population of the country at that time, for mutual safety, was forced to concentrate in forts, hastily thrown up on its borders; the place where the scalper with the crimsoned tresses of many a maid and matron, and the flaxen locks of the little blue-eyed boy, would pile the blood-stained trophies, and describe to the half-astonished and delighted women and children of the forest the dying shrieks and screams of the slaughtered victims.

It was after one of those predatory excursions of the Creek Indians into the settlements of the whites (and the ashes of many a building and murdered family told of their prowess) that other plans of murder and plunder had been arranged, and the warriors of the nation had assembled at the little town of which we are speaking, to the number of several hundred, to celebrate the Green Corn Dance, as was their custom, and to take the black drink, an ablution deemed necessary to reconcile the Great Spirit to the enterprise in which they were about to engage.

A few hundred men under the command of Colonel M. and Major Adams, who had volunteered and resolved to strike a blow at the heart of the nation, arrived within a few miles of the river, and waited for the setting of the sun to advance to its bank, to cross and take the enemy by surprise.

Night came, and they were halted in silence on the bank of the river opposite the Indian town. All was hushed and still as death-not a sound was heard save the savage yell and war-whoop of the Indian, with occasionally a monotonous war-song, bursting forth amid the revelry, in which all ages and sexes seemed to join.

The moon had begun to shed a dim light through piles of clouds, and the water breaking over the rocks had the appearance of the ghosts of the murdered whites, calling on their brethren upon the bank to take signal vengeance, or admonishing them of great danger; and many were there who heard sounds in the air-strange moanings and screams of “Beware.”

But there was among them one who was unappalled. The night was far spent, and the noise from the other band had ceased-the voice of the wearied Indian was hushed and still-all had sunk to rest, or the little army had been discovered. Not a sound was heard save the rippling of the stream; ’twas a solemn pause; but time was precious, the blow must be struck, or all would be lost.

It was proposed to Colonel M. and Major Adams to cross the river and ascertain the situation of the Indians, so as to be able to lead their little band to certain victory. Colonel M. ???? declined the hazardous enterprise. Major Adams resolved to go, and sought a companion; but he had nearly despaired of finding one who would volunteer to share his dangers, when a small and very feeble man, whose name was Hill, advanced from the ranks and proposed to accompany him. Major Adams and his companion set out together; but the force of the river current soon overpowered the brave Hill and swept him down the stream.

Major Adams sprang to his relief, and at the eminent hazard of his own life, rescued his friend from a watery grave; with his athletic arms he buffeted the rapid current, and bore the exhausted Hill to the bank which they had left. He then set out alone.

The ford which he had to pass was narrow and difficult-making in a direct line across the river, nearly half way, opposite which was an island; it then turned down the stream a quarter of a mile or more, over rocks and shoals, sometimes scarcely knee deep, then up to the neck-and the trunks and limbs of trees, which had drifted upon the island, with the dim light of the moon, shining through the clouds, cast upon them, had the appearance of so many savages ready to pounce upon their victim; but with a firm step Major Adams proceeded, and soon reached the bank in safety.

The town was situated on the edge of the river swamp, about 300 yards from the water, and so numerous and intricate were the paths leading in every direction from the ford into the swamp, and the darkness produced by the thick undergrowth was so great, that when he reached the hill, or dry land, he discovered by the fire around which the Indians had kept their revels and dance, shooting up occasionally a meteoric blaze, that he was far below the point at which he aimed.

Bending his course cautiously along the margin of the swamp, he soon reached the border of the town; an Indian dog seemed to be the only sentinel, and after a few half growls and barkings, as though he had but dreamed, sank away into perfect quiet. In a few moments he was in the center of the town. In addition to those in the cabins, innumerable warriors, with their rifles and tomahawks in their arms, lay stretched and snoring in every direction; the earth was literally covered with them.

Major Adams examined the fastenings of the cabin doors, by running his hand through the cracks and feeling the log of wood or the peg by which they were secured. He was convinced that no alarm had been given, and that the Indians did not suspect an enemy was so near. A huge savage, close to whom he was passing, raised himself upon his elbow, grasped his rifle, and looked around, as though he heard, or dreamed that he heard strange footsteps. Major Adams, perceiving him stir, threw himself down amidst a group of snoring Indians; the warrior, perceiving nothing unusual, concluded he had dreamed, and again sank into the arms of sleep.

Our hero proceeded cautiously, examining with a military eye every point of attack and defense, arranged his plans, and was returning to the anxious army on the other bank of the river. His exertions in crossing the river had been great-he was tired, and perceiving an Indian pony tied to a sapling and believing that the little animal would pursue the ford to which it was accustomed, and probably show him one less difficult than that at which he had crossed, he resolved to ride it over the river. He did not see the bell which hung around its neck; frightened at his approach, it snapped the rope of bark with which it was fastened and scampered off through the town with a hundred dogs at its heels, whose yells and the tingling bell produced a frightful roar through the wilderness. The chattering of Indian voices was heard in every direction.

Major Adams sprang towards the river, but missed his path and found himself surrounded by the briers and thick undergrowth of the river swamp. The Indians passed within a few paces of the place where he stood, half suspended in the air by the briers; and returning from their fruitless search, he thought he heard them speak of strange sights and sounds, such as were told in Rome of the fall of Great Caesar. They returned to the town and again slept.

 

Major Adams proceeded in a direct line to the river, glided into the stream and swam quietly and safely to the other bank. He told what he had seen and stated his plans of attack. The little army listened, amazed and delighted with their gallant leader; each individual felt that the danger to which he had exposed himself was that their danger might be lessened, and with one voice, when orders were given to march, declared that they would be led by no other commander than their own intrepid Adams. Colonel M. was forced to yield. They were led across by Major Adams, and it was needless to say, to victory, without the loss of a man. Scarcely a warrior escaped. The town was burned; but as far as possible, the women and children, of even savages, were saved. Posts may yet be seen standing in the midst of saplings, grown up where the town was burned, which are the only remains that serve to point out to the traveler the place where stood the “Burnt Village.”

 

Finally the Creeks gathered about them the remnants of their tribe, and under the escort of United States soldiers bade farewell to the haunts of their youth, and found a resting place in the territory that lies beyond the Mississippi.

The original Davy Crockett Program by Walt Disney

POOF has a real treat for you . . . a very important film from television history . . .  Davy Crockett: Indian Fighter   by Walt Disney.  The scenery is beautiful, because the entire program was filmed in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You will see Chief Red Stick,  Chief of all the Red Stick Creeks . . . authentically dressed in a buffalo headdress.

Oh well . . .

This first Walt Disney TV program aired on December 15, 1954.  Most of it was in color, but virtually no one in the United States owned a color TV.   Some  would  see the program in color when it was re-broadcast in the 1960s.   Even then, very few homes had color TV.

The new program was called Disneyland because Walt Disney made a deal with ABC that if he produced a one hour program each month, ABC would pay for the construction Disneyland in Southern California.

Here is the URL for the first 15 minute film:

You will find the other three segments on the side bar of YouTube after watching the first segment.

Enjoy!

Creek Indian savages . . . the making of a myth

For many Uchee, Creek, Chickasaw, Seminole and Choctaw families in the Southeast, the church congregation became their new tribe, when their traditional worlds fell apart during the Trail of Tears Era.  A Native American church congregation is in reality a continuation of the cultural cohesion of a Creek/Uchee/Seminole tribal town. It is a strong argument for federal recognition of certain Southeastern tribes.

“We have come to realize that the Creek Indians are different that any Natives encountered by the British People in North America.  It is obvious that they are the descendants of a great civilization. They are equally intelligent as Englishmen, if not more so.  They should be treated as equals in all matters.”

Letter to King George II in 1734 by General James E. Oglethorpe, Supervising Trustee, Province of Georgia

Of course, I am aware that there is One, who made us all.” 

Chiliki,  High King of the Creek Confederacy – June 7, 1735

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house and land; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

No. 10 of the Ten Commandments by Moses

The Creek Indians were a savage race, who were so ignorant that they stubbornly refused to admit their natural inferiority to the White Man.  Georgia is blessed to be rid of them.”

The Rev. George D. Smith, DD – 1913

The barbarous Creek Indians had secured themselves in the bend of the Tallapoosa River in a curvature resembling a horse shoe. Nature had furnished a situation of defense near impossible to penetrate.”

Website of the Graham County, NC Historical Society – 2016

Part IV

Series on “William McIntosh and the Betrayal of the Creek People”

The power of Hollywood’s version of history

The commercial success of the movies, “Gone With the Wind” (MGM) and “Song of the South” (Walt Disney) in the 1940s caused a rash of movies about the history of the South during the early 1950s. This period coincided with the completion of the Modernistic museum at Ocmulgee National Monument.

The original exhibits at the Ocmulgee Museum were primarily designed by historians and archaeologists from the Midwest, Northeast and California.  For the next five decades it taught visitors that the Ocmulgee Acropolis was constructed by “Master Farmers”, who arrived on the Macon Plateau from somewhere else, probably Cahokia.  They disappeared and were replaced about 200 years later by Lamar Culture “Farmers”.   They disappeared and were replaced in the late 1600s by Creek Indians.

The Ocmulgee National Monument Museum portrays the builders of the town as being "buck naked" except for a breach cloth and wearing Mohawk hair cuts.
The Ocmulgee National Monument Museum portrays the builders of the town as being “buck naked” except for a breach cloth and wearing Mohawk hair cuts.

At least by 1973, National Park Service archeologists knew that a Woodland Period village had been located on the site of the “Lamar Village” and that the town of Itza-se (Ichese) was founded by the same people at the same time as Etowah Mounds, around 990 AD.  However, to this day, Ocmulgee Museum exhibits state that the Lamar Village was settled about 200 years after the abandonment of the Acropolis and do not clearly link the pre-Colonial Period Lamar Village with the modern Creek Indians.

Three movies about the Seminole were produced in Hollywood in the early 1950s. Their portrayal of the Seminoles varied from being Barbaric Savages to being Noble Savages, but the over-riding themes were that the Seminoles were a primitive people, who were blocking the way of agriculture and commerce.  None of the movies had speaking parts for actual Native American actors, but they did have real Seminoles in the background.  In the most popular of the three, Seminole (1953), Anthony Quinn played Osceola, while Hugh O’Brien played the Seminole leader, Kajeck.   Italian-American actresses played Seminole women, who lived with white men.

seminole-uprising-movie

Davie Crockett: On December 15, 1954, the first segment of television’s first mini-series aired on the Walt Disney Show. Entitled “Davie Crockett, the Indian Fighter,” it portrayed the participation of frontier celebrity, David Crockett, in the Creek Red Stick War.  The opening scene of combat shows Crockett (Fess Parker) and George Russell (Buddy Ebsen) single-handedly drive off about 30 howling Creek warriors, who have attacked helpless white squatters in a Connestoga wagon, who are fleeing from their land that they stole from the Creeks. The movie does not mention the squatter part.   The Red Sticks are portrayed as being naked except for their deerskin breach cloths and Mohawk haircuts.

Walt Disney portrayed the Red Stick Creeks as wearing Mohawk haircuts, Plains Indian bone vests and Hollywood Injun leather pants. The real RedSticks wore red turbans, middle length hair, mustaches, indigo blue long shirts and leather leggings.
Walt Disney portrayed the Red Stick Creeks as wearing Mohawk haircuts, Plains Indian bone vests and Hollywood Injun leather pants. The real RedSticks wore red turbans, middle length hair, mustaches, indigo blue long shirts and leather leggings.

Almost all the first segment of this series was filmed in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  The Red Stick Creeks were played by local Cherokess,  but the Cherokee “good guys” who befriended Crockett as he single-handedly defeated the Red Sticks, were played by white men, wearing tan makeup.  There was absolutely no mention made in this ground-breaking movie for television that this was a Creek civil war or that the Cherokees fought alongside Creek Majority allies of the United States, plus all were commanded by Georgia Creek officers.

The TV series and subsequent Davie Crockett movies were wildly popular. Walt Disney franchised over $300 million worth of Davie Crockett consumer items . . . the most popular being coonskin caps for virtually every boy in the United States.  That would be the equivalent today of about $1.8 billion.  They paid for the construction of Disneyland.

Unfortunately, Disney’s grossly inaccurate portrayal of Southeastern Indians created a misunderstanding of the past that has lasted to this day. Creeks were savage, bloodthirsty barbarians, who preyed on women and children, while the Cherokees were literate, articulate white men with long hair and a nice tan. Many Creeks and Seminoles have told me that as kids they started telling neighbors that they were Cherokee because the Davie Crockett movies made them ashamed to be Creek or Seminole.

Religious hypocrisy on the Southern Frontier

George Smith’s book on the early history of Methodism unknowingly provides far greater insight into what was actually happening on the Southern frontier than mainstream American history books.  Contemporary history textbooks sanitize out substantive discussions of the role of Protestant Christianity and Judaism in the Old South because such articles might offend students, who are not Protestant Christians or Jews.  He mentions numerous Methodist ministers, who were sent by the Georgia Methodist Conference to be missionaries to the Creeks.  They were well received in Georgia and along the Alabama side of the Chattahoochee River, but apparently not welcome in the regions that were to become Red Stick villages.

Smith’s complained that although Georgia Creeks readily accepted the teachings of Jesus and the concept of salvation by faith, they tended to incorporate the gospel into their own monotheistic religion, rather than changing to the institutional forms of European Christianity.  Thus, they now celebrated Poskita, Christmas and Easter, plus included prayers to Jesus Christ when it their temples or Creek Squares.  They also continued to condone pre-marital sex and polygamy.  Adultery was still considered a serious crime.

It is curious that the Methodists had far less success with the Cherokees.  The only area in which they were consistently welcome was in the Pine Log area of present day Bartow County.  Charles and David Hicks were the leaders of Pine Log, which was a Natchez village before the American Revolution.

Charles Hicks had a nervous breakdown on the road home from the Battle of Horseshoe Bend because of the guilt from the massacring of Creek women and children, his Cherokee company had done. He considered himself to have become a Christian along that journey.  In 1817, he established a Methodist preaching ground at a spring that was sacred to the Cherokee conjurers. It eventually became Pine Log Methodist Church and Campground.  I was a member of that congregation in the late 1990s.

Nothing is written in anthropological literature about a difference in religious beliefs between Eastern Creeks and Alabama Creeks, but it seems apparent. This contrast seems to have been explained in the writings of French ethnologist Charles de Rochefort in 1658.  He said that when the old Apalache Kingdom degenerated into a loose confederacy, the multi-ethnic commoners went back to their old folk religions.  It seems quite possible that the Eastern Creeks continued to follow the traditional monotheistic religion of the Apalache elite.

Without any apology or guilt, Smith also inserted several comments that seem hypocritical.  He described the Creek farms and natural environment in the Creek Nation as being maintained in pristine states.  Other commentaries of that era describe Creek/Seminole farmers and ranchers being far more skilled and affluent than the Cracker counterparts on the east side of boundary rivers.  Even Rev. Smith states that the whites on the east sides of rivers coveted the pristine Creeks lands to the west, but he also repeatedly mades the statement that “it was inevitable that the whites quickly occupy Creek lands.”   In other words, God ordained it so.

When semi-civilized whites stole the lands of a Godly people, many of whom by then were also Methodist or Baptist Christians, the only way that they could assuage their guilt was to demonize their victims.  God had ordained the seizure of Creek lands because they were uncivilized savages.  It is a myth that continues today.

Female wannabe Cherokees in Northside Atlanta

Journalist John Selman Pennington played a major role during the 1970s in exposing the early Native American history of Georgia to the public via his Atlanta-Journal Constitution readers. He was of substantial Creek heritage from Southwest Georgia and a personal friend of Jimmy Carter.  In fact, he grew up very close to where Jimmy did.

Pennington’s marriage to Marilyn Johnson Pennington fell apart when he was hired to be a press officer in a government agency in the new Carter Administration.  While a housewife and mother, Marilyn had begun writing children stories and short stories.  Increasingly she gravitated toward children stories within the cultural environment of the Cherokee Indians.

While her husband re-married a few years later, she became attracted to the new feminist movement, lived with the North Carolina Cherokees for several years to learn their language and then returned to Georgia to begin taking classes in anthropology.  She eventually received a Masters degree and was hired by the State of Georgia as a professional archaeologist.  Unfortunately, her harmless fictional stories about the Cherokees and their evil enemies, the primitive, savage Creeks, then became government authenticated archaeological reports and press releases.

BrasstownMoundbuilde
This manikin was installed in the Brasstown Bald Museum in the Georgia Mountains during the period that Marilyn Johnson was employed as a highly influential administrator and archaeologist. The exhibit is labeled “MOUND BUILDER – No one knows who built the mounds in North Georgia, but the Mound Builders only lived in Georgia for a short time.”   Most of the Paleo-American, Archaic, Woodland, Mississippian and Historic Period artifacts in this museum and one nearby at the Brasstown Resort are labeled “Cherokee.”  That includes artifacts from Etowah Mounds!

All commentaries of the time describe Johnson as a highly competent administrator and archaeologist.  However, none dare analyze her evaluation of artifacts or cultural evidence.  Johnson played a major role within the state bureaucracy during the 1980s and early 1990s in grossly exaggerating the Cherokee presence in the state.  She pressured archaeological firms to label sites that were obviously of Muskogean ethnicity and even older sites where ethnic labeling was impossible, as being “Cherokee.”   She is believed to had a major role in those two arrays of Paleo-American, Archaic, Woodland and Mississippian artifacts at the Brasstown Bald Mountain Visitors Center and the Brasstown Resort museums being labeled “10,000 Years of Cherokee History.”

Simultaneously, Johnson and her allied feminist friends began issuing state press releases that described the Cherokees as building Georgia’s largest mound centers and occupying much of the state for 10,000 years.  Meanwhile Creeks were consistently portrayed as primitive savages, who left very few vestiges of their presence there.

Johnson was not alone.  There was actually a cult among some lily-white, affluent, Northside Atlanta women, who in midlife discovered that they were Cherokee feminists.  For example, a ex-relative of mine by marriage, left her mixed-blood Creek husband and family to run around with Marilyn Johnson’s circle of friends.  She lived for awhile with a woman from Tennessee, who was part Cherokee then moved in with a group of women in Buckhead.

Bisexuality has always been a common feature of Cherokee culture and in the 1700s was typically condoned among Cherokees just as heterosexual promiscuity among single teenagers and adults was condoned among the Creeks.  Native Americans in general had different sexual morals.

My former second cousin renamed herself Princess Chewanee, and imagined herself to be a reincarnated Cherokee Princess.  She began wearing Western Plains Indian clothing all the time.  When her ex-husband moved to Florida and married a full-blood Seminole lady, 20 years younger than him, Princess Chewanee went rabid and began equating all the evils of the world with the Creeks. Chewanee called all her ex-relatives “savage Creeks,” which caused her children to distance themselves from her.  She then moved to Northeast Oklahoma, where she was utterly rejected by real Cherokees.  She then moved to California and promptly had a mental breakdown . . . never to be heard from again.

Meanwhile, the damage was done in Georgia.  Somehow, Cherokee culture had been linked to feminism, and the first thing these ladies did, when they gained power in government was to promote all things Cherokee, even though they didn’t have a drop of Native American blood, themselves.  The situation had become so intolerable by 2006, that it spawned the formation of the People of One Fire.

Where did the Christian Creeks go?

According to The Road to Disappearance (1941) by Angie Debo,  Christians were not allowed in most Red Stick and Oklahoma Creek tribal towns until a couple of decades after the Trail of Tears.  A person or family that converted to Christianity could expect at the least to be driven out of their community. Many were also tortured, mutilated or killed.   So where did all these Methodist and Baptist Creeks go when their Georgia lands were ceded in 1825 by the McIntosh Faction?

Debo also wrote:

Their reputation as warriors and diplomats, during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, extended to the most distant reaches of the Indian country. Secure in their careless strength, friendly toward the white man until his encroachment made them resentful and desperate, they learned that they had no guile to match broken promises, and no disciplined courage to provide unity against white ruthlessness. Broken, dissembled, and their ranks depleted by the Creek and Seminole Wars, they were subjected to that shameful and tragic removal which forced all the Five Civilized Tribes to a new home in the untried wilderness west of the Mississippi.”

Angie, that’s not quite true.  Over 22,000 Creek names that appeared on the 1820 census in Georgia, never showed up again on the tribal roles in either Alabama or the Indian Territory.  What happened to them?  According to Debo, Christian Creeks would not have been welcome in the Indian Territory, except in peripheral lands not claimed by traditional tribal towns. Non-Christian Creeks had the option of moving to Florida and joining the Seminole Alliance.  Most likely, many Christian Creeks either elected to assimilate culturally with their white neighbors and become citizens of Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.  They also had the option of moving to Mississippi, Louisiana or Texas, where they could blend in with people of mixed-Spanish or mixed-Native American heritage.

The church congregation as a tribe

The People of One Fire has developed absolute genealogical proof that Uchees and Creeks along the Savannah River associated themselves into multiple Protestant church congregations in order to survive the traumas of the 19th century.  This is not a theory.  My grandmother attended a school for Indian kids in the basement of her Methodist church, when it was illegal for Indians to attend public schools. Her family had been members of that church since the late 1700s.

There is a very active state-recognized Creek tribe in Southeast Alabama, which is primarily a church congregation.  It is highly likely that other predominantly Native American congregations exist in other parts of the rural Southeast.  No one has really researched the matter, except in the Savannah River Valley. Those of you, whose families were in those churches for many generations, should seriously consider forming a tribe and petitioning for federal recognition.  That is one sure way for Southeastern Native Americans “ to get some respect.”

And now you know!

An ancient cluster of villages in Roswell and Sandy Springs, Georgia

Many of you probably define your Native American ancestry by focusing on the lifestyles of some people living in the 1800s with English names.  However, in regard to the Uchees, Chickasaws and Creeks, this was just a blip in time, compared to the many, many centuries that our ancestors lived in the Southeast in permanent towns and villages.   The world that most of your Native American ancestors lived in was entirely different than the 1700s and 1800s.

In 1500 AD, one could have paddled down the Chattahoochee River for over 35 miles in what is now Metro Atlanta and not lost site of  villages and cultivated bottom lands.  There would have been only one large town with multiple mounds . . .  at Peachtree Creek. 

(Image Above)  Over a three mile length of the Chattahoochee River in North Metro Atlanta,  an archaeologist found a dozen permanent village sites.  They were occupied most of the time from around 1200 BC to at least 1700 AD, yet none had mounds.  Several village sites were established on much older Archaic Period camp sites, where stone weapons and tools were crafted from imported rocks.

AmicalolaRiver
The Chattahoochee River flowing through the Upper Piedmont of Georgia

The year of 1939 that archaeologist Robert Wauchope spent in North Georgia clearly identified a dense pattern of settlement that seemingly has been forgotten by the current generation of anthropologists.  Go to most online references and books, and you will be presented a distorted image of how most the ancestors of the Uchees, Chickasaws and Creeks lived during the so-called “Mississippian Cultural Period.”   You will be shown images of a few big centers such as Cahokia, Moundville or Etowah Mounds and told that all people lived in “chiefdoms” in which the elite of a single large town dominated a ring of satellite villages, clustered immediately around the big town.  You will also be told that these chiefdoms rarely lasted more than 200-250 years.

That is not what Robert Wauchope found.   Instead, he discovered one small village after another from the Chattahoochee’s source near Helen, GA to present day Columbus, GA.   The village clusters in the mountains and  region around Atlanta began thousands of years ago as camp sites and seasonal hamlets for hunters and gatherers.  They fished and gathered mussels in the river shoals. By around 1000 BC or earlier, they were settling down and making refined pottery.    Their descendants continued to live in these same locations for many centuries.

Human occupation of the village cluster on the river between Roswell and Sandy Springs was not completely continuous.  Wauchope did not find any Swift Creek (Middle Woodland)  pottery here, although it is abundant at some village clusters upstream and downstream along the river.   Wauchope theorized that this section of the river was therefore unoccupied between around 200 AD and 600 AD.

In our series on the Chattahoochee River,  the People of One Fire has mentioned several clusters of ancient villages along this beautiful river.  However, there is one important difference for this cluster near Roswell and Sandy Springs.   Most sites are in the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area and open to the public.  They are in a natural or semi-natural state and protected by National Park Service Rangers.   There are no mounds to see, but at least one can better appreciate the beauty of the Chattahoochee’s environs that was enjoyed by its Native American inhabitants.

The Creek Legend of the Tall Extraterrestrials and their Star Gates

A legend is an oral tradition, passed down from generation to generation. It is not scientific fact, nor even recorded history. Nevertheless, true events are often incorporated into Muskogean legends. We have found that the recently discovered Original Creek Migration Legend is a very reliable “road map” of Vera Cruz State, Mexico and the Southern Highlands of the United States.

 Since the era of Erich von Däniken, many writers have used indigenous legends in the Americas as “proof” that their particular take on the past is correct. It is highly significant that Von Däniken wrote Chariot of the Gods, while serving time in prison for tax fraud and embezzlement at the Swiss hotel, he formerly managed.  

Little known is that Von Däniken’s original manuscript was so amateurish that no publisher would touch it.  The book that the public bought was heavily re-written by its editor, Wilhelm Roggersdorf. A Wikipedia article recently revealed that Roggersdorf was actually Wilhelm “Utz” Utermann, a prominent German NAZI ideologue, writer, journalist, screenwriter and film producer.   Utermann believed that the German elite were descended from extraterrestrials, who were always intended to rule an Earth, peopled by inferior beings. 

Yes, Von Däniken, the brilliant intellectual, was a myth created by aging German NAZI’s, hiding in the closet. He was a patsy, who took the money and ran.  This is why all of these ancient alien astronaut theorists to this day have white people creating the great wonders of the Americas.  No matter what particular religious or cultural drapery they apply to their pet version, it is still NAZI racism at its core.  

 A basic flaw in all many alternative explanations of the past is that they start out with a theory and want to prove that they are right.  They selectively cite bits of evidence that in their minds, prove that they are brilliant.  Thus, one eventually ends up with such logic as “The Mississippi Delta was created by ancient Dutch explorers because the Netherlands were originally flat and swampy.”  There may be facts included in the publications of Von Däniken and his genre, but when their goal is the elevation of their own race or religion, the scientific methodology becomes suspect.

This precise GIS satellite imagery map shows the locations within North Georgia that are associated with the Star Gate Legend. There is no doubt that the structures were intentionally constructed at the locations that create a cross or diamond outline.
This precise GIS satellite imagery map shows the locations within North Georgia that are associated with the Star Gate Legend. There is no doubt that the structures were intentionally constructed at the points that create a cross or diamond outline.

The truth is that I was looking for ruins of 16th century Sephardic gold mining villages, when I stumbled upon the Track Rock terrace complex.  The great archaeologist, Arthur Kelly, had showed me photos and actual artifacts that he found on the Lower Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers, which he thought were either made in Mesoamerica or copies of Mesoamerican artifacts.  I assumed that eventually some archaeologist would find more of such artifacts in that region, thus proving direct contact with Mesoamerica.  For many years, I foolishly had overlooked blatant evidence elsewhere, because I naively assumed that was it was impossible for Maya refugees to have settled in the interior of the Southeast.

When I was a kid, Uncle Hal took some of my cousins and I to a knoll overlooking the Savannah River near Elberton, GA. He pointed down to some slight bumps the flood plain and said that when he was growing up, there was the vestige of a round spiral mound down there. On top of this mound had once been a temple, where very tall people from another planet could come and go.  That was the reason that the Creeks were taller than most folks.  He said that there was once another such temple somewhere in the Nacoochee Valley, but he did not know where. That’s all he told us.

In 1939, Robert Wauchope became the first and last archaeologist to study the Rembert Mound Complex. Its most impressive original features were massive football field size, 8-12 feet tall rectangular platforms filled with black, biochar earth.  Soon after the first Virginians arrived in Elbert County after the American Revolution, the black soil had been hauled away and sold to new settlers to fertilize their gardens and fields.   The Great Spiral Mound on the Savannah River was still intact enough for Wauchope to measure and draw.  It was three times the size of the Great Spiral Mound at Ocmulgee National Monument.

A little over three decades later, archaeologist Joseph Caldwell led a team to Elbert County to re-examine the Rembert Mounds before they were covered with the waters of Lake Richard B. Russell.  They went to the wrong mound site.  Caldwell set up camp at the Elbert Mounds, which were 2 miles north of the mouth of the Broad River.  Wauchope clearly wrote that the Rembert Mounds were almost six miles north of the Broad River.

Caldwell stated in his report that the Great Spiral Mound was completely gone.  This erroneous statement and the inaccurate location has been fossilized in stone by subsequent generations of archaeologists and anthropological publications.  The real Rembert Mounds were covered in water without being studied further.

The Creek Extraterrestrial Visitors Legend

Over the past 15 years, I have discussed the legend told me by Uncle Hal with Creeks, Seminoles and Miccosukees in  Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Oklahoma.  No one had the complete story.  Most associated the concept of star gates with only one or two ancient shrines . . . the most prevalent being the Great Spiral Mound at Ocmulgee National Monument.  Very few Oklahoma Creeks knew the legend at all.  A few Oklahoma elders vaguely knew a legend about past contacts with very tall extraterrestrials.

There is a reason for the lack of cultural memory among Oklahoma Muskogee-Creeks.  The Muskogee speakers did not have a significant presence in Georgia until the Colonial Period.  Perhaps the stargates (if they even existed) had ceased to operate by the 1500s and 1600s.

Reinhardt Petroglyphs
Reinhardt Petroglyphs

Here is the “assimilated” version of the legend. It may have details that were influenced by exposure to 20th century science fiction plots, but the fact is that the Uchee and Creek glyph for a time portal, aka a star gate, may be found in their Motherland on petroglyphs from the Late Archaic Period forward.

Beings have been coming down from the sky since ancient times.  Most that visited the Uchee/Creek Motherland looked very much like humans, but were very tall . . . from seven to eight feet tall.  (A Creek ela equals 13 English inches.)  They came to our land to mine a certain mineral, which they did not have in their nation, far away in the heavens. 

The tall visitors chose the ancestors of the Creeks as their allies on Earth.  They sometimes married our people.  The children from the visitor’s women were the tallest of the mixed offspring . . . sometimes just as tall as the visitors.   The children from Creek mothers were about six and a half to seven feet tall.  All of these mixed offspring were very wise.  The visitor women’s offspring became our leaders, who we now call Aparasi-te.  They and the Creek women’s mixed offspring became our Wind Clan, who became our priests, Keepers and scholars.

The visitors taught us about the universe.  They said that one God created all worlds and all people.  She was invisible, but her love for us was symbolized by the sun.  For us to know the travels of the sun, was to partially understand the Creator of all things.  We were not to worship many gods like the Waha-te (Mesoamerican, the Serpent God or the Fire God, plus we were not to conjure demons fires and springs.  The Fire God would appear as a bright light to shamans and pretend to be the Creator, but he was really a spiritual son of the Creator, who had rebelled against his Mother. We were also not to make animal or human sacrifices.  We were to build sacred temples to the Creator on high places.  That we have done ever since then.

Then one day the visitors came to our Wind Clan Keepers and said, “Build temples on mounds and stone shrines in certain places, so we can travel back and forth from our land to your land more often.”  This was done. 

The visitors taught our Keepers of the Day how to measure time.  They taught some Keepers about the magical use of numbers to measure land and other things. The Keepers of the Land were taught how to grow more food from the land.  The Talliya Keepers were taught how to plan towns like the ones the visitors came from.

After many suns had passed, some Wind Clan priests wanted to visit the nation of their other ancestors. The visitors told them that it was dangerous for the priests since they were part human.  However, the visitors granted their wish.  Those priests, who were able to visit the mother planet and return safely, described a universe that was unimaginably large and beautiful.  However, many priests did not return or showed up in the portal temples with their bodies so mangled that they quickly died.

Then one day, the Visitors came to our leaders and said, “We will not be able to visit you again, because of something that is about to happen in our world.  Evil strangers are coming from another part of your world, who will invade your lands.  A terrible time is coming in which the Earth will suffer and many children wille.  However, one day we will be able to return and set things right.”

The Evidence

Concept of a universe – The above story would seem to be pleasant folklore, except there are so many cultural and physical facts that cannot be explained via our current knowledge of the past in the Americas. For starters, the Creeks were about the only Pre-Industrial people, who viewed the Earth as one planet in a universe containing many planets and galaxies.  The symbol of the Wind Clan is a spiral galaxy in a field of stars and other galaxies.  There is no way that someone standing on Earth, without a powerful telescope, would know that there were spiral galaxies.

Note that there are three spiral arms on both the spiral galaxy and the gorget that symbolizes the Creek Wind Clan. Is that a coincidence?

moundville-hand-eyeThen there is the symbol of the Creator.  It is coiled rattlesnake, symbolizing the Milky Way with the omniscient hand and eye of the Creator in the center.  The Panoan peoples of Eastern Peru use a similar symbol but their universe was defined by a giant anaconda snake, rather than a rattlesnake.

Monotheistic Religion

The people living in the Creek Motherland, when the first European explorers arrived, were monotheistic, but apparently had no concept similar to the Messiah, Jesus Christ or the Prophet.  Their understanding of the Creator was diametrically opposite to that of Islam.  The Creator was viewed as a universal mother, who loved her children, despite all their failings.  There was no concept of humans bowing down or submitting totally to some Middle Eastern war god, but rather a spiritual way of life that tuned into the motherly guidance of the Creator, which was like a radio transmission to each person’s brain. In the duality that permeated all aspects of Creek life, the individual had a personal relationship with a loving Creator, but also was expected to participate in communitywide rituals and prayers.

An emphasis was placed on putting the welfare of the community before that of the individual. This was balanced by an obligation of the community to look after the welfare of all its citizens no matter how wealthy or politically powerful they were. Ostentatious accumulation of personal wealth and/or display of power were considered sins.  According to Georgia Colonial Secretary, Thomas Christie, all Creeks had to announce their sins publicly and forgive those who sinned against them, before entering the temple.  Thus, the “Spiritual Path of the Creeks” was very similar to the words spoken by Jesus, but did not emulate the structure of institutional Christianity or Old World societies.

All of their neighbors, as was typical of the Americas, worshiped many gods, conjured demons from fires or were animists, who believe that all objects contained spirits, either good or malevolent. So for the Creeks to have a religion so starkly different than others in Americas, is especially remarkable.

When the De Soto Expedition entered the Ocmulgee River Basin, they encountered peoples, who were far more advanced than the ones in the Florida Peninsula.  They also noticed many statues of people, created from wood, stone or fired ceramics.  They asked the people of Toa, if these were their gods.  A leader responded, “No, we worship one invisible God, who created the universe.  The statues honor our famous ancestors.”

In 1658, French ethnologist, Charles de Rochefort, went into great detail describing Apalache (Proto-Creek) religious practices.  He said that they believed in a single Creator god, who was symbolized by the sun, but was not the sun.  Animal and human sacrifices were considered abominations. He said that no blood, even of game animals, could be shed within one lieu ancien (two miles) of a temple or shrine. The elite were expected to regular “sacrifice” luxury personal items, such as brightly colored clothing, on the stone altar in the temple.  These items were distributed to the commoners by the priests. Large flocks of Tonatzuli (Painted Buntings) were maintained by the priests in the mountaintop temples.  They were considered the bearers of prayers to the Sun Goddess (Creator.)

Copal-Tonatzuli

De Rochefort also said that the Holiest Month began on the Spring Equinox and that it was followed by the month in which maize was planted.  The next most important month began on the Summer Solstice. This festival celebrated the ripening of the maize (corn) ears.   We know this event as the Green Corn Festival.

In 1784 Jordan Clark and Jacob Bankston, passed by the Yamacutah Shrine on their way from Virginia.  Many Virginians took up Georgia’s offer of free land in the illegally acquired section of the Creek Nation in Northeast Georgia.  Georgia officials filled the land with settlers so that by the time the US Congress addressed a fraudulent treaty in which a small renegade band of defeated Cherokees gave away a vast territory belonging to the Creeks allies of the Patriots, it was a fait accompli.

Yamacutah-Site-email

Confirming statements made over a century earlier by Charles de Rochefort, Clark and Bankston stated that no shedding of blood was allowed in the vicinity of a Creek shrine.  They had killed a bear near the Yamacutah Shrine.  This made the local Creeks irate.  They said that Yamacutah marked the spot where “the Great Spirit” had bid farewell and disappeared before the eyes of a crowd of followers.  The “Great Spirit” had been living among the Apalache People for awhile prior to his departure.

Creek oral legends provide a slightly different story.  Yamacutah was near one of the locations where the Visitors had a star gate.  The shrine marked the spot where the last Visitor had departed into outer space.

Drawing of the Eastern monument at Yamacutah, based on its description by Bankson and
Drawing of the Eastern monument at Yamacutah, based on its description by Bankson and
Yamacutah-1-email
Drawing of the eastern stone monument at the Yamacutah shrine, based on the verbal description by  Jordon Clark and  Jacob Bankston

Extraterrestrial graphics?

Clark and Bankston were evidently surveyors, because they provided us today with an exceptionally detailed description of the Yamacutah Shrine’s dimensions, stone monuments and stone inscriptions.  They stated that a repetitive motif appeared on many of the quarried stones, which alternating 3 and 5 crescent moons, turned outward.  I cannot think of any other culture that used that motif.  One larger stone monument contained a writing system unlike any that the men knew, with a sunrise above it. A sample of the stone monuments is pictured below.

Captain Rene de Laudonniere of Fort Caroline was of slightly above average height for a Frenchman, yet was dwarfed by the Sati-uriwa (king) of the Sati-le People on the Satilla River in Georgia. Sati-urewa means Colonists-King in the Panoan Language of Eastern Peru. Because they never translated the word, contemporary academicians use the king's title as the ethnic name of his people.
Captain Rene de Laudonniere of Fort Caroline was of slightly above average height for a Frenchman, yet was dwarfed by the Sati-uriwa (king) of the Sati-le People on the Satilla River in Georgia. Sati-urewa means Colonists-King in the Panoan Language of Eastern Peru. Because they never translated the word, contemporary academicians use the king’s title as the ethnic name of his people.  They also place the Satile in Florida, even though no map shows them there.

Extreme height

North Americans outside of the Southeast consistently think of Native Americans being shorter than them, when the opposite was the typical case throughout most of North America, south of the Arctic. However, the Creeks were even taller than typical indigenous Americans.  About ten years ago a “Alternative History” researcher from Minnesota argued bitterly with me that Etowah Mounds was built by Vikings, because its occupants were tall. Some seven feet tall skeletons have been found in royal burials in both Etowah Mounds and Ocmulgee National Monument.  George Washington excavated an entire cemetery full of six to seven feet tall skeletons while supervising the construction of Fort Loudon in Winchester, VA.  A little known fact is that the Shenandoah Valley was filled with mound builders until the late 1600s, when they were suddenly exterminated by slave raiders.

The chroniclers of the De Soto Expedition state that the indigenous men living in the Creek Homeland averaged a foot taller than the Spaniards.   The leader of Pro-British Creek forces in Georgia during the American Revolution was seven feet tall and in his 90s.  Even today, male Creek descendants, particularly in Northeast Alabama and Central Georgia are noticeably higher than the norm.   So, this aspect of the Creek Extraterrestrial Legend is absolute fact.

Photo of the Great Spiral Mound at Ocmulgee National Monument (1930s)
Photo of the Great Spiral Mound at Ocmulgee National Monument (1930s)

The Spiral Mounds

In anthropology books and tour guides, almost no attention is given to the difficulty of building a spiral ground.  Perhaps because the authors have liberal arts backgrounds, they have no clue has to what is involved with building a precisely symmetrical spiral structure, such as the Great Spiral Mound at Ocmulgee National Monument.  I have been working on the 3D computer models of the two spiral mounds in Georgia for several weeks and have several more weeks of work to go.  Each point and line requires a calculation from the branch of Calculus Mathematics called Integral Equations.  Now I had a world class education in graphics science at Georgia Tech and have created literally thousands of complex drawings since then.  Think how complicated the construction was on these two monuments.  Their builders were obviously not Stone Age dullards.

Regional surveying

As can seen from the GIS satellite image above, the builders of spiral mounds and stone ovals were able to perfectly align these structures at a distance up to 128 miles apart.  This would be a difficult task today for a small surveying crew, using laser theodolites.  How did they do it back then?

William Bartram commented that in 1773 he observed the superiority of Creek land surveyors to their British Colonial counterparts.  A group of Creek leaders were accompanying a surveying crew as they staked out the boundaries of the land cession in the Treaty of Augusta.  Becoming increasingly angry at their amateurish mistakes, a Creek taliya (architect-surveyor) offered to complete the survey, if he was paid the same amount that the British surveyors would have been paid.

British officials chuckled, but took up the offer in order to put the savages in their proper place. The talliya did the job perfectly, but with instruments that appeared incomprehensible to the Brits.  Overland surveying would have required substantial knowledge of trigonometry and geometry.   Did the ancestors of the Creeks develop these mathematical skills independently or were they taught them by the Visitors?  We will probably never know.

Does the geometric form created by these shrines and mounds have a meaning beyond a simple cross or an asymmetrical diamond?  Maybe yes and maybe no.  Five major concentrations of towns and villages, ancestral to the Creek Confederacy located around these shrines during the Mississippian Cultural Period (900 AD-1600 AD).  The five sites that various versions of the extraterrestrial legend placed star gates do form a cross.  The locations of stone shrines on top of Kennesaw and Stone Mountain seem to not fit.  That might be the end of it.

However, if one mirror-images the satellite map, it becomes almost identical to the Southern Cross (Crux) constellation, which probably was no visible in the skies of North America when these structures were built.  On the other hand, POOF’s research over the past three years has proven that South American peoples migrated to the Lower Southeast in several waves.

southerncross
If one mirror-images the Southern Cross, either Kennesaw Mountain or Stone Mountain can become the fifth smaller star.

Suggesting that the builders of these mounds and shrines intentionally created a mirror image of the Crux Constellation might seem rather implausible, but scientists are finding that several forms created by massive assemblies of field stones in the Nazca Plain of Peru are actually mirror reversed images of known constellations.  They compose what one would see from looking behind this constellation.  We also know that the title of the High Kings of the Apalache . . .  Paracusi-te  . . . means that they claimed descent from the ethnic group who built these mirror-image constellations in Peru.

However, why would anyone want to create a mirror image of constellation 128 miles from north to south?  Unlike the Nazca lines and images, they would have no meaning from within the earth’s atmosphere.  The viewer would have to be at least 100 miles out in space to appreciate this extreme display of surveying skills, and then the mounds and stone ovals would be almost invisible dots.  There would have to be bright lights or electronic beacons in these temples to have any possible functional value.  Those are a lot of ifs, considering that currently there is no absolute proof of an extraterrestrial presence in the region.

The truth is out there somewhere

Today, there are two versions of the Southeast’s Native American history.  One is simplistic and neatly packaged into a table of pottery styles with English or Spanish names. The anthropologists, who created it want you to think that they know everything there is to know about the matter.

The People of One Fire has been developing the other version. It is complex, three dimensional, interactive with other regions of the Americas and full of questions that have not yet been answered.  Close Encounters of a Third Kind is an area of research for which there are still many questions.

And now you know!

 

 

An eyewitness account of the horrors of Spring 1825

POOF member Ed Lanham has sent us this eyewitness account from the days immediately after William McIntosh’s execution on April 30, 1825.   What it tells us is that the “Hostile Party of Creeks” harassed, stole and possibly killed additional persons other than those on the “execution list.”    The document also tells us that the Steven Hawkins who was hanged by Hostile Creeks on the same day as McIntosh’s execution, was NOT the son of Indian Agent Benjamin Hawkins, as is stated in many references. 

The incidents described in the deposition below occurred on the Sandtown Trail  which connected the Flint and Ocmulgee Rivers with the Chattahoochee and Little Tallapoosa Rivers.   In 1825,  Tuckabatchee was located on the Chattahoochee River, very close to the Sandtown Trail.  Therefore, the initial appearance of the Hostile Creeks probably was at or near the Sandtown (9FU1) and Sweet Potato (9FU14) archaeological sites, which were described in the previous series in POOF.  The McIntosh Plantation was only a few miles south of Tuckabatchee. 

Samuel, the son of Stephen Hawkins, was captured in the afternoon of April 30, 1825 by the Hostile Creek Posse’.   He was hung.  Benjamin Hawkins, Jr.  the son of the Indian Agent by the same name,  was shot by the same posse’, but escaped.

When tracking the relocation of affluent Creek families from Georgia to Louisiana and Texas,  historian Roger Kennedy and I noted comments such as “they departed Georgia quickly, fearing for their lives.”   However,  most histories of that era emphasize the fate of the McIntosh Family and do not mention other acts of vengeance against whites and mixed-blood Creeks.

The sworn deposition below,  presented to the Governor of Georgia,  confirms that there were acts of theft and violence against whites living among the Creeks and mixed-blood Creeks associated with the “McIntosh Faction”  in West Georgia.  It would explain why they fled to Texas rather than to either Alabama or the Indian Territory.

Introduction of original article

The Lowndes County Hawkins line begins with STEPHEN HAWKINS, a trader among the Creek Indians. He traveled widely among the Creek villages and probably was familiar with the part of Alabama to which he eventually migrated. In the 1790s, however, he was a resident of Jones County, Georgia where he was an acquaintance of the famous Indian Agent, Benjamin Hawkins. Because of their common name these two men have been thought to be kinsmen. No such relationship has actually been established, however, and their association seems to have been limited to their common interest in the affairs of the Creeks. Though they were not necessarily kin to each other, nor even close associates, it is from the writings of Benjamin Hawkins that we have much of our earlier information on Stephen Hawkins.

Sarah Grierson, a mixed-blood Creek woman, married Stephan Hawkins.   Their son, Samuel, was killed on the afternoon of the day that  William McIntosh killed by Upper Creeks for his betrayal.  After Samuel was killed, Stephen and Sarah fled to Fort Jackson in Wetumpka, Alabama.  Records say that they had two children, Samuel, and Benjamin.

A daughter of Stephen and Sarah Hawkins became the third wife of William McIntosh.   She apparently was in charge of running the hotel at Indian Springs and did not live with the other two wives.

Note: Several Creek Grierson families moved from West Georgia to Texas prior to the defeat of Santa Ana at the Battle of San Jacinto.   They became very active in the early development of Texas.  It is not known for certain how closely related they were to Sarah Grierson, but most likely they were siblings. 

Deposition

* Testimony of Stephen Hawkins.  Georgia, Baldwin County:

By virtue of a commission from his Excellency the Governor of Georgia, to us directed, to receive and examine testimony in relation to the charges lately preferred by the Governor aforesaid against John Crowell, agent for Indian affairs in the Creek Nation of Indians, we have taken the examination of Stephen Hawkins, a white man resident in said nation, who, being duly sworn, deposed and said:

That he has resided in the Creek Nation thirty eight years, or thereabouts; that, on the second day of May last, he was on his way from Fort Jackson to his residence at Chelokonojah, in the nation; he was stopped by eight or ten Indians, who belonged to the hostile party; they seemed to be headed by John  Riley, a half-breed; Riley told him they were sent by Hopoithle Yoholo, a Tuckaubatchee chief, to take all the property belonging to the Hawkins’ and McIntosh, and carry it to Tuckaubatchee; they took what property they [he] had with him, except two horses, (one of which he was riding, and the other rode by his wife,) which they afterwards took, and carried away; the property to be had  on the road was two negro boys and a thousand yards of homespun, two sacks of  salt, besides a number of other articles; he told them that they ought not to take his property; that he had nothing to do with the treaty: Riley replied to him, that Hopoithle Yoholo had ordered him to do so, and that the agent (Colonel Crowell) had ordered Hopoithle Yoholo to have it done. Some of the same party met at his house and took what he had there, being some other negroes and other property. That, in consequence of the conduct of the hostile party, he left the nation, apprehending that they would kill him; they did kill his son, Samuel Hawkins; all his family had to leave the nation, through fear; he now lives near Fort Jackson, in Alabama.

 

Stephen Hawkins, his + mark.

 

Both the Georgia Creeks and Cherokees were living on detached farms in the 1820s

A Footnote on the McIntosh-Texas Series of Articles

The major objective of this series of articles in the People of One Fire is to get people to understand the real cultural history of the Creeks and Cherokees.  The majority of history articles by white authors state that removal of the Creeks and Cherokees from western Georgia was necessary in order to give them time to change their lifestyles in order to be compatible with white neighbors. 

This is just not true.  What Roger Kennedy discovered was that whatever excuse the white politicians made, the real reason for the Creeks and Cherokees being deported was the greed of men, who wanted to acquire large tracts of prime bottom land cheaply in order to establish cotton plantations.   For obvious reasons, both the Creeks and the Cherokees had established their farmsteads on the most fertile land.  The cotton planters could not assemble large tracts if the bottom lands were divided up into modest sized farms.

Over and over again we have found eyewitness accounts that by the 1820s,  both the Creeks and the Cherokees were living lifestyles quite similar to their white neighbors on detached farms and plantations.   This is also true for East Central and Northeast Alabama.    Where Chief Bowl ran into trouble was that he was insisting on maintaining a traditional tribal village on a large reserve.

The Creeks, who moved to Texas dispersed across the landscape and developed plantations and farms little different than their white neighbors.  Most of these Creeks were mixed bloods anyway.   Therefore, they were hardly noticed by the Texas politicians.

Look at this painting of Benjamin Hawkins.  It was painted just before the War of 1812.  Note that immediately in back of him is a Creek farmstead . . . hardly different from white farmsteads of the era.   In the left center of the background is a cone shaped Creek chokopa and square.  On the other side of the river is the emerging city of Macon, GA.   The message of the painting is that the work of Hawkins made it possible for the Creeks to maintain traditions such as the chokopa and yet be in close proximity to conventional towns.

Benjamin_Hawkins-CreekIndians

 

 

A National Alliance of Muskogean Scholars and their Friends

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