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A Funny Anecdote from the Blue Ridge Mountain Foothills Frontier

Most of the Seminole, Yuchi, Shawnee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Creek descendants in the Southeast trace their heritage to ancestors who said “Hell no, we won’t go” when mixed-heritage tribal big-wigs, living far to the west gave their lands away to government officials in return for huge bribes. That is particularly the case in eastern Georgia when Alexander McGilvray declared himself to be “Emperor” of the Creek Empire. He was the grandson of the French commander at Fort Toulouse and the son of a Scottish trader. He lived over 200 miles to the west on a plantation in Alabama.

One of the Talasee Creek families in the Blue Ridge Foothills, who refused to jump, when others said jump, befriended the George Wilson Family, newly arrived to the frontier. The two families remained friends, eventually intermarried, and still live in the region.

In the late 1800s, Gustavus Wilson recorded his childhood memories on the frontier in a book manuscript. He recalled how devout his Creek neighbors were. When invited over to Sunday dinner the Creeks would repeatedly shout something that Wilson remembered as, “Ouska! Chouska! Loka!” Wilson said that the words meant “Glory to God!”

Those words were not quite what the Wilson’s Native guests said. Georgia and Carolina Creek was more like Florida Miccosukee than Oklahoma Mvskoke, but in this case, I think the Mvskoke would be similar.

What they really said was:

Oske! Cvske! Loke!

which means

Drink it! Chop the meat! Devour it all!

My Creek ancestors were the next door neighbors and friends of the famous patriot, Nancy Hart . . . you know the ones that fondly called her “War Woman” after she and her daughter hung seven Tories, who ventured into her isolated farmstead near the Broad River, while her husband was away fighting?

Laughter is the best medicine!

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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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