Destroyed by the US army in 1836, Peliklikaha was possibly the largest community of free blacks and run away slaves in Spanish and early US territorial Florida. The community spawned two internationally known figures, Abraham, the sense bearer of Micanopy, and Juan Caballo (John Horse), who led survivors of the community on a long journey to freedom in Mexico. Learn about the Maroon culture of Peliklikaha and the descendants of this community who became known as the Black Seminoles who still live in Florida, Mexico, Oklahoma and the Bahamas.
Exactly one year ago, Lake Sumter State College celebrated Florida’s 500th year anniversary by hosting a speaking event of two Seminole elders, Willie Johns and John Griffin. Hear both talk about the experiences of being a Seminole.
A long-forgotten letter, discovered in early November of 2014 by regional planner and historian, Michael Jacobs, has provided very significant collaborating evidence that an English colony thrived in what is now northeast Metro Atlanta throughout the 17th century. Jacobs is Senior Regional Planner at the South Georgia Regional Commission in Waycross, GA. Michael was also one of the founding members of the People of One Fire.
The seven page letter was written on January 6, 1660 in perfect Renaissance French by Edward Graves (Graeves) a member of the board of directors of the colony, to the Rev. Charles de Rochefort, a French Protestant minister living in exile in Rotterdam, Holland. De Rochefort’s commentary on the letter said that Grave held a Doctor of Law and lived in Melilot within the Apalache Kingdom.
News about archaeological discoveries in central Mexico might seem irrelevant to your tribe, but think about this . . . three key Totonac root words, Tula (town), Tama (trade) and Chiki (house) can be found in various forms in the place names of many modern towns of the Southeastern United States and Lower Mississippian River Basin.
A dirty little secret revealed by the excavations at Teotihuacan
The first great city of the Americas was in the Peten Jungle of northern Guatemala. Known today as “El Mirador,” it was founded after the collapse of the Olmec Civilization in the 500s BC. In Maya folklore, El Mirador is remembered as the Place of the Reeds or Tula. This name came from the marshes near the city which sustained its life. The typical soil of the Peten is very infertile. The early Mayas scooped up rich organic soils from the marshes and filled stone walled terraces and raised planting beds with them to grow crops. This intensive form of agriculture supported a population of around 100,000 people at Tula I’s peak size and sphere of political influence around 350 BC.
When I first started studying the architecture and urban development of Ocmulgee, two National Park Service rangers discussed their theories on the town with me. They believed that Ocmulgee was the multi-ethnic “Super-Walmart” of the Southeast, whose impact was significant to the heritage of most tribes in the Southeast. At the time, all I knew was that I had always been told that it was the “Creek Mother Town” and all archeological texts described Ocmulgee as a small, isolated site that had no satellite villages and little impact on the remainder of North America. The theories of the rangers seemed far-fetched.
The Mayas did not call themselves, Maya. Their identity was based on the specific language or dialect spoken in a particular province or city-state. They spoke, and still today, speak many dialects and languages. Some of those Maya languages are as different as English and Swedish. The label, Maya, was given all of those diverse peoples by the Spanish.
This surprising origin for the word, Maya, was typical of the Spanish. No Florida tribe ever called itself Timucua. Timucua is the Spanish derivation of a tribe on the Altamaha River in Georgia, named the Tamakoa (Trade People in hybrid Itza Maya-Arawak.) The Tamakoa spoke a language similar to those dialects spoken by the provinces in northeastern Florida that now are called Timucua, but they detested the Spanish and moved northward away from them. In the 1700s, the Tamakoa were located in northeast Georgia near one of the sources of the Altamaha River. By then, they were members of the Creek Confederacy.
Dan Elliot and Mark Williams of the LAMAR Institute have probably studied more Creek and proto-Creek town sites than any team of archaeologists in the nation. What really sets their work apart from many contemporary archaeological studies is the records they produce of the architecture and site plans. Their graphics have the “look” of work done by design professionals, such as architects and civil engineers.
Many contemporary archaeological studies are useless to me for architectural or urban planning analysis, because they are so myopic, while simultaneously being accompanied by inadequately researched architectural sketches by artists, who have no professional training in architecture. Neither Elliot nor Williams become so immersed in the micro-details that they forget the physical composition of a community. Their site plans are exceptional in quality and accuracy.
The immensely rich archaeological heritage of South Florida is little known outside the southern tip of the Florida Peninsula. Perhaps least known are the large town sites east of Lake Okeechobee. Several have been studied by professional archaeologists and the large town sites are all now protected by some form of public ownership.
The 143 acre Big Mound City Archaeological Zone is located in central Palm Beach County, Florida. It is about 10 miles east of Canal Point, in the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area. Big Mound City is the only site from the Belle Glade culture on the National Register of Historic Places. It was added in 1973 as an example of a Calusa ceremonial complex, but is now understood to have originally been constructed by the same ethnic group that built the Ortona and Wakate towns – probably ancestors of the Mayami. Continue reading →
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles tell of a horrific catastrophe on the coasts of Britannia, Ireland and the Low Countries. On St. Michael’s Day (September 28 in the old Julian calendar) the sea suddenly rose and swept up estuaries to drown well over a hundred thousand people. The tsunami destroyed many port cities in northwestern Europe. Between 30,000 and 40,000 people died in Wessex alone. Eyewitness descriptions, recorded in medieval monastery chronicles, are identical to those of the 2005 tsunami in the Indian Ocean or the 2011 tsunami on the coast of Japan.
What is even more terrifying is that the most violent effects of this cosmic event were on the coast of North America. The barrier islands on the coasts of the Mid-Atlantic States, North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina were destroyed. The Outer Banks of North Carolina are the remnants of those islands, which are still rebuilding. The islands off of Virginia, the Delmarva Peninsula and New Jersey were so thoroughly destroyed that they have not come back.
Geologists have found evidence of a thin layer of residue of this comet or comet fragments, which struck the North Atlantic that day several miles inland in Metropolitan New York City. Along the coast of the Mid-Atlantic and New England states, the impact would not have been felt as a tsunami flood, but rather an explosive and very deadly wall of super-heated sand and steam. All humans living on the coasts of that region would have been killed.
The indigenous peoples of southeastern North America and Mesoamerica believed that comets and meteorites were feathered serpents, which came down from heaven and landed on earth. Some branches of the Mayas worshiped a Celestial Serpent as their principal deity. One of the many misconceptions about the Maya civilization held by most North Americas is that it was a monolithic culture in which all deities, political systems and architectural styles were the same throughout. That certainly was not the case.
In the Southeast, seven foot tall Paracus kings were acquired like trade goods
Did you know that the Native Peoples of eastern Peru have long drunk a highly caffeinated tea made from a close relative of the Yaupon Holly? Their ritual life also includes use of several herbs that when mixed with this tea cause them to vomit. Caffeine and ritual purging are considered a necessary step before making important decisions. Now whose culture in the Southeastern USA does that sound like? The original name for Ossabaw Island, GA was Ase-bo or Yaupon Tea People in hybrid Creek-Panoan. OMG
Lake Okeechobee contains both giant and diminutive skeletons of people, who immigrated from Central and South America.
Some of the most advanced indigenous cultures north of Mexico existed in the Lake Okeechobee and Caloosahatchee River Region of southern Florida. Most of the religious and political symbols associated with the “Mississippian” Culture were being used in South Florida about 500-600 years before they appeared elsewhere in North America. The towns of this region were linked by a sophisticated network of raised causeways and canals, yet there is no evidence that these people practice large scale agriculture. The probably cultivated raised gardens that were extremely productive year round, but did not grow Indian corn at a large scale.