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Are these ladies Machis Creeks from Southeast Alabama?

Are these ladies Machis Creeks from Southeast Alabama?

Nope!   They are Machis from the Andes.   They speak a language that has loaned several words to Muskogee-Creek. 

Machis means “Wise Man” or “Wise Woman” in several languages of Andean Region.


Here is something else interesting.   A war captain or “axe bearer” in the Andes was called a Tokee or Toque.   That word is also the name of an ethnic group, who founded the Creek Confederacy town of Tuckabatchee (Tokipa-si).

Are you beginning to see a South American connection?

The Editor

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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.



    Hi Richard,

    Great post, raises several questions. Are the Machis a tribal group in the Andes or is the word “machis” a term that describes the wise men/women of various tribal groups in the Andes, or both? If Machis is a tribe, how closely related is the Machis to the Mapuche Nation located in the Chilean/Argentinian Andes?

    If you’ve answered these questions elsewhere, please point me to the link(s) in your magnificent volume of knowledge. Thanks!

    • The Mapuches have Machis. They also have Tokees. The best I can figure out . . . I am not fluent in Spanish, but can communicate . . . the machis formed a clan within these ethnic groups that transcended tribal identities – so in a sense they were a tribe themselves. They are something like the Druids, whose influence transcended the individual Britannic tribes in Britain and Ireland.

      I am highly suspicious that the Mapuches also had a colony near Chattanooga, TN. The Hernando de Soto Expedition called them Napuches . . . but over and over again, I have found where the Spanish changed a Native American M to an N.


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