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Author: Richard Thornton

Patterns of Vegetation Cover affects Precipitation

Ben Cook (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center) and colleagues used a high-resolution climate model developed at GISS to run simulations that compared how patterns of vegetation cover during pre-Columbian (before 1492 C.E.) and post-Columbian periods affected precipitation and drought in Central America. The pre-Columbian era saw widespread deforestation on the Yucatán Peninsula and throughout southern and central Mexico. During the post-Columbian period, forests regenerated as native populations declined and farmlands and pastures were abandoned.

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Creek Geographical Town Names

Why do many Creek geographical and town names seem to have no meaning in Muskogee . . . while Choctaw place names are Choctaw words?

Last week, a lady in Birmingham, Alabama with both Creek and Choctaw ancestry, wrote me with an interesting question. Evidently, she has been diving deeply into her heritage lately. She is trying to translate the American Indian place names in Alabama and not having a great deal of success with “Creek” words. Well, for one reason, very little of present day Alabama was Muskogee-Creek until after 1763, but the complete answer is much more complicated than that. You will find this newsletter fascinating.

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Sir William Berkeley and the Ethnic Cleansing of the Southeast

The association of the name, William Berkeley, with the Native American history of the Lower Southeast came as a complete surprise to me. While living in Northwestern Virginia, I had become vaguely aware of a Royal Governor named Berkeley, who was involved in some ancient event known as “Bacon’s Rebellion,” but the focus of my professional practice was Northwestern Virginia’s architectural legacy dating between 1740 and the Civil War. The 17th Century history of Virginia, east of the Blue Ridge, seemed irrelevant.

In late 2006, I was just wrapping up 3 years of research into the indigenous peoples of the Southern Highlands. In addition to the standard book and internet exploration, I had visited dozens of archaeological sites and hiked literally hundreds of miles on vestiges of the aboriginal trails. There were still some unanswered questions remaining. One of these was, “Who were the Westo Indians?” Further investigation led to Virginia and the name, William Berkeley. The more I learned about Berkeley, the more obvious it became that his activities as a twice-appointed royal governor, and also as, a planter-entrepreneur, had an enormous influence on the Southeastern United States up to this day

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Muskogean Women’s Fashions before and after British Colonization

Many Southeastern Native Americans AND the general public are under the impression that the clothing worn today at ceremonies, stomp dances and festivals were what was always worn in the past. The women’s dresses are beautiful; particularly those of the Florida Seminoles, but those fashions actually date back to the 1700s. The same can be said of the “long shirts” worn by Southeastern men.

It is quite likely that the Muskogeans formerly made cloth for blankets and shawls with polychrome, striped patterns like ribbon dresses. However, there was about a 150 year hiatus when Muskogean women apparently did not know how to weave, or else did not weave enough cloth to make dresses.

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The Information World is changing!

People of One Fire needs your help to evolve with it.

We are now celebrating the 11th year of the People of One Fire. In that time, we have seen a radical change in the way people receive information. The magazine industry has almost died. Printed newspapers are on life support. Ezines, such as POOF, replaced printed books as the primary means to present new knowledge. Now the media is shifting to videos, animated films of ancient towns, Youtube and three dimensional holograph images.

During the past six years, a privately owned business has generously subsidized my research as I virtually traveled along the coast lines and rivers of the Southeast. That will end in December 2017. I desperately need to find a means to keep our research self-supporting with advertising from a broader range of viewers. Creation of animated architectural history films for POOF and a People of One Fire Youtube Channel appears to be the way. To do this I will need to acquire state-of-art software and video hardware, which I can not afford with my very limited income. Several of you know personally that I live a very modest lifestyle. If you can help with this endeavor, it will be greatly appreciated.

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Richard Thornton . . . the truth is out there somewhere!

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