Richard Thornton | May 9, 2017 | 23
Are the Muskogee Creeks, the descendants of the Olmec Civilization?
The Creek Confederacy was formed from numerous indigenous ethnic groups, but there is no doubt about it . . . certain branches have the three types of facial features portrayed in Olmec art over 2,500 years ago. In fact there are people in the Thlopthlocco Tribal Town, who look far more like Olmec art than any indigenous tribe in Mexico today. As can been seen above, there is a 100% match in facial features between BIA Administrator Kelly Harjo and the famous stone portrayal of an ancient Olmec king. Brother Harjo could be his direct descendant.
Did you know that Thlopthlocco Tribal Town was originally located in Lee County, Alabama (Auburn-Opelika)? The town of Waverly was originally named Thloblocco. The descendants of Creeks, who elected to stay on their allotments rather than move to the Indian Territory, still live there. Several have served on its city council.
As mentioned in an earlier article in The Mayas Then and Today series, the Creek Migration Legend began in the same part of Mexico where the Olmec Civilization once thrived. In Part Four, we saw a drawing of a Muskogee Creek town in Middle Georgia, sketched by William Bartram in 1776, that had every architectural element of the great Olmec city of La Venta in 600 BC! The Olmec Civilization was really just the first phase of the Maya Civilization.
There is much more to the story than shared regal looks. At the same time that I was doing the research for building the Etowah Mounds model, which is on display in the Creek Capital in Okmulgee, OK, archaeologists announced the discovered of the earliest known writing system in the Americas. It was found in an Olmec town site that was once a suburb of the Maya city, now called San Lorenzo.
I was astounded to see that the symbols in this writing system could be found in the art of Etowah Mounds and the Ortona town site on Lake Okeechobee, Florida. There must be a direct cultural connection. You will learn about that connection in Part Five of the series.
The Itsate-speaking (Hitchiti) branches of the Creek Confederacy do not resemble Olmec statuary at all. We look like the Highland Mayas of Chipas, Guatamala and Belize. A few months ago a Creek friend sent me a photo of a Kekchi Maya man from the Belize Highlands, who was a “spitting image” of me when I was in my thirties. Also, the architecture and town planning of the Itsate Creeks were different than those of the Muskogees. Nevertheless, variety is the spice of life.
There will be many OMG moments in Part Five of The Mayas Then and Today.
Mayas . . . Then and Now Series on POOF
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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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