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A Toa Arawak shrine on the Chattahoochee River in SW Metro Atlanta

About a century ago, some hunters stumbled upon a hilltop shrine at the confluence of the Chattahoochee River and Sweetwater Creek.  The location is in Sweetwater Creek State Park and just upstream from Six Flags Over Georgia.  There were stone steps leading up to the top of the hill and many stone cairns in the vicinity of the hill.  Such shrines were typical of several Caribbean peoples, but not of the Muskogeans and Itza Mayas.

The Toa were a Ciboney People, who were possibly more closely related to the Caribs than to the Taino.   Like the Caribs they worshiped many demons, who were called Maybouya.

Below is the stone stela, which stood on the top of the hilltop shrine.  It is now on display at the Sweetwater Creek State Park Museum.



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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.

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