Another surprising cultural connection between today’s Kaw Nation and the Kusa People of 1540
The director of the Kaw Nation Museum in Oklahoma contacted People of One Fire with another surprising cultural connection between the traditions of the Kaw Nation today and the Province of Kusa, visited by the Hernando de Soto Expedition in 1540 AD. Several of the village names, mentioned by the De Soto Chronicles for locations along the Upper Coosa River and in Northwest Georgia cannot be translated with either Muskogee-Creek or Itsate-Creek dictionaries. They may well be Kansa (Kaw) words.
Spanish chroniclers wrote that in each major town of the Kusa Province, a large timber was erected in the center of town plaza. On top of it was a large bird nest, woven from river cane and a realistic wooden eagle with wings outspread.
The Kaw Nation today has only two clans . . . the White Eagle Clan and the Black Eagle Clan. Their two names Kaw and Kanza mean Wind and South Wind respectively, but they do not have a Wind Clan like the Creeks and Seminoles.
On the other hand . . . Kaw is the Itza Maya and Itzate Creek word for eagle. So it appears that the Kansa (Kanza) in Northeast Alabama and Northwest Georgia had duplicate meanings for their name.
The Kaw Nation Museum Director is sending the People of One Fire a Kaw dictionary to see if it can translate some village names in Alabama and NW Georgia, which have evaded us.
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