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A Gathering of the People . . . June 21-23, 2019 . . . The Nacoochee Valley

A Gathering of the People . . . June 21-23, 2019 . . . The Nacoochee Valley



We are alive!

The Coweta Creek Confederacy invites peoples of all tribes and ethnicities to join us in the celebration of the Creek New Year at the last location of the capital of the Apalache Kingdom . . . the Nacoochee Valley.   This is an informal gathering of people with shared love for their fellow humans and shared concern for the current state of Mother Earth.  There will be only two scheduled events . . . Observance of the sunset on Friday evening, June 21, 2019 at a Creek Sacred Site and a fellowship feast at a state park pavilion at noon on Saturday June 22, 2019.  For most of the weekend you and your family or friends will be free to enjoy an astonishing variety of recreational opportunities in the Nacoochee Valley, Alpine Helen, Tallulah Falls, Brasstown Bald, Chattahoochee National Forest and Lake Lanier Area. 

Many of you may want to plan joint campgrounds, cook outs, Native dances, canoe rides, etc., but that is entirely up to you. We need MANY drums!   However, in anticipation of us getting together in smaller groups on Saturday night,  we urge all musicians to bring their instruments!   Any type of music is okay . . . including Folk and Country-Western.  Many of the greatest talents in these two musical traditions were Cherokees and Creeks.  The late mikko of the Tama Creeks,  Neil McCormick,  invented the steel guitar.  One of the most popular singers today,  Carrie Underwood, is a citizen of the Muscogee-Creek Nation. 


Creek New Year Service  7:30 PM – 9:01 PM  ~ June 21, 2019

Throughout the service, a drum will beat softly in the background until 8:48 PM, when all drums and rattles will join in . . . accelerating to an crescendo and accompanying flutes at 9:01 PM, when the elders will light the Sacred Fire . . . marking the beginning of a New Year.

We will also renew an ancient Creek egalitarian tradition.  Beginning at 7:30 PM,  the oldest person in attendance will be handed the Sacred Pipe and speak from a minute to five minutes whatever words the Master of Life has guided him or her to speak.  From then to the drum crescendo, every person in attendance, regardless of ethnicity or age will be  allowed to speak briefly as guided by the Master of Life . . . once they have been handed the Sacred Pipe.  All others must remain silent.

Native American Feast

At noon on June 22, 2019 the Gathered People will meet in a pavilion at one of the state parks in the Nacoochee Area to share a meal together. We will furnish ice tea, lemonade and water.  Each person, family or group will be responsible for bringing their own food.  We request that ALL food be traditional to Native Americans.  That is not so hard to do.  You will only be giving up wheat bread and hamburgers!  LOL   Remember, People of One Fire research has proven that the Creeks raised indigenous Araucana chickens prior to the arrival of European settlers.  In fact, the Totolosee Creeks in South Georgia specialized in the breeding of chickens.  The Creeks also invented deep oil fried chicken, turkey and fish . . . so even Colonel Sanders recipe will be appropriate.  We’ll will be flexible not require you to fry your meat and hushpuppies in hickory nut oil.    Musicians are invited to bring their instruments and singers their voices, so we can jam after the meal.

All foods indigenous to any part of the Americas are okay for our feast!


Sponsors and Volunteers

Obviously, this is a simple low budget get-together, in which individuals and families will be responsible for most of their own costs.  Nevertheless, we would greatly appreciate any businesses or individuals, who would be able to help us out with the cost of renting the locations for the Creek New Year Service and the Native American feast.   We also need to purchase name cards, tea and lemonade.

A volunteer is need for handling registrations for Name-ID cards.  We will need about 24 volunteers to help as Vehiti (Guardians/Monitors) and to help set up the beverage table. 

The Nacoochee Valley is located between Cleveland, GA and Alpine Helen, GA in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  It is about 75 miles northeast of Downtown Atlanta.   The Valley contains well over a hundred Native American archaeological sites,  one of the nation’s largest national historic districts, a living history State Historic Site (Hardman Farm) and two State Parks.  Alpine Helen is an old mountain town that about 50 years ago re-invented itself as an Alpine village.  Within a 30 minute drive are five other state parks and four more State Historic Sites.


There is no requirement to wear traditional Native American clothing.  However, you are welcomed to.  Just don’t bring along the gaudy stuff that people wear at pow wow’s so they will look like Indians!   LOL

State Park Campsites, Cabins and State-owned Hotels

If you want to stay in a state-owned campsite, cabin or hotel room, you better make your reservations soon!   They are generally booked up by springtime.  These are the following state parks in the area.  Those at the top are in or near the Nacoochee Valley.

Unicoi State Park and Lodge  (Nacoochee)

Smithgall Woods State Park and Cabins (Nacoochee)

Mossy Creek State Park (Cleveland)

Buck Shoals Wildlife Management Area campsites (Cleveland)

Moccasin Creek State Park (Lake Burton)

Vogel State Park (Blairsville)

Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge (Dahlonega)

Tallulah Gorge State Park and Campground (Tallulah Falls)

Don Carter State Park and Campground (Gainesville)

See ya there!



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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.



    Good move to do native food, which is real easy in the region. Little is eaten there that does not have some sort of native roots. Okra is out though. This was brought in by the African slaves, unless you have stumbled upon pre-Columbian okra. Now that would be quite a shocker.

    I know no European cattle hamburger, but what about buffalo hamburger? Henry Timberlake states in his book that the Cherokees had some effort to domesticate bison. Is there any evidence of the Creeks also doing this? Also what was the level of hunting wild bison in the Southeast?

    And what about any evidence of tomatoes and potatoes getting that far north? This is a question that has not been answered, as far as I have ever been able to figure out.

    • Definitely, buffalo hamburger is in order. There were many bison in Northeast Georgia until the early 1750s. They were killed off by a European cattle diseases. The Creeks grew sweet potatoes, but used Indian potatoes (Jerusalem Artichokes) for their white potatoes. Tomatoes are a question mark. Some early explorers mentioned that peppers were grown in the Gulf Coastal Plain, so perhaps tomatoes were too. All indigenous foods of the Americas are okay!


        Richard, how about some posts on acceptable native foods? And please include recipes. This would be good for the general education of the community, showing how much native cuisine influenced general American cuisine. Plus there may be people who want to come but don’t want to come without contributing food but they don’t know what to bring.

        • Here is a list of indigenous foods in the Americas. The list should also include green beans and mango.

          The cabbage family, okra, green peas, spinach, carrots and rutabaga are indigenous to the Old World. Melons, peaches, pears and apples are from the Old World. There was a domestic apple in the Southern Highlands, but it was never cultivated by European settlers.

          A little later, we will solicit recipes from the ladies. Virtually all of traditional Southern cuisine, except turnip greens and collards are really traditional Creek cuisine.


    I would be glad to pay to reserve a picnic shelter. Seems sooner would be best for planning and for those wanting to make reservations for campsites. You should choose the place.
    Also wondering if any plans are in place for “winter looking around” ? After this last snow around Asheville, as it was slowly melting off, it seemed to accent land features. Feel free to contact by phone.

    • It has rained or snowed every weekend here for over two months. This coming weekend, we are forecast for mixed rain, sleet and snow!


    What about farming fish I have found reason to believe that early indigenous people in the central south were fish farmers have you ever seen anything like that

    • Most Muskogean towns in the Southeast had ponds where they kept fish. I think that the Moundville, AL Mounds have three ponds.


        Was reading last night about Key Marco Cat and decided to follow some of the references
        this one related to fish farming……

        Preliminary Report on the Exploration of Ancient Key-dweller Remains on the Gulf Coast of Florida
        Frank Hamilton Cushing
        MacCalla, 1896 – Florida – 120 pages

        I’ve only scanned this but seems he makes direct reference to fish farming
        …. from the descriptions they seemed to be “sustainable fish farming” (in today’s terms) shellfish and have simple trapping systems for gathering of schooling fish & shrimp and gardening as well.


          In the Pacific Northwest, I have seen the remains of rock walls built across tidal basins. The idea was to make these walls low enough so that at high tide the fish could still enter the tidal basin, but high enough to trap the fish when the tide went out.


    Here is an interesting website with a large number of supposedly authentic native recipes and ingredients.

    I have only done a quick scan of the site bit did not find anything out of place. But others might know better.


      I have to walk back a bit from my comment. The site does include recipes containing post-contact foods, like sheep. The site has recipes that have become staples of native communities over the centuries, not just what was eaten before Columbus showed up. So be careful in picking a recipe. But there still seems to be a good number of recipes with only indigenous ingredients.


    Is there an update on this event ?? I’ll be nearby and would like to attend.

    • I cancelled it. No one offered to help and only five people said that they were coming.


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