Select Page

Brief Update: Cultural memory of the American holocaust

Analysis of the Creek Migration Legends Series

During the past month I have been studying every line of the “lost” colonial documents that were discovered in April 2015.   I also have obtained other little known records of the contacts between British traders and Southeastern tribes in the early 1700s.

Nowhere is there a mention of a  great “die-off” of the ancestors of the Muskogean tribes.   We know it happened from the sudden abandonment of towns, cessation of construction . . . even the maps that suddenly show many towns no longer existing.  For example, the town of Apalache, located around the Kenimer Mound in Georgia’s Nacoochee Valley, is displayed prominently on a 1693 English map, but is never mentioned again on future maps.

There was a horrific small pox plague in 1696 that decimated the Creeks and Uchees in western South Carolina and eastern Georgia.  There is no mention of this demographic disaster in the statements of Creek leaders.  That plague would have occurred only 39 years before the creation of the “Migration Legend of the Creek People.”

*By the way, both Creek and colonial officials used the word Uchee, not Yuchi.   We can assume that it was the preferred pronunciation.

I have also noticed that even in 1735,  the intelligentsia of the Creek Confederacy seemed not to know the meanings of their proper nouns.   Many of these same words were translated by the High King of Apalache (quite accurately) to Richard Briggstock in 1653.   Eighty years later, they were essentially “Latin” to the leaders of the Creek Confederacy, yet the Creeks still called themselves either Apalache or Palache, not Muskogee.  Were the new members of the Creek elite, actually the descendants of commoners?

My only explanation for the lack of cultural memory for the American holocaust is that it killed so many members of the Apalache elite, (who knew how to write)  in a short period that the cultural memory was erased.   There are two ways  that an almost instantaneous elite extinction  could have occurred.

  1.  It is known that a hemorrhagic fever wiped out over 85% of the indigenous population of many parts of the Mexican Highlands in a few weeks during the late 1500s.  Victims would often be healthy at breakfast and dead by supper time.  That horrific disease could have spread to the Southern Highlands of North America.
  2. Slave raids sponsored by the Rickohocken allies of the English or the Native allies of the French could have instantly exterminated entire towns during the late 1600s.  Just because they are not now  part of our sanitized American History books does not mean that they did not occur.

I can’t emphasize enough that Muskogee IS NOT a traditional name for the Creek Indians,   The word did no appear as an ethnic label until just before the American Revolution.

As our research goes forward, we will continue to look for answers to these riddles, but for now, they are just that –  unanswered questions.

The following two tabs change content below.
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.

1 Comment

  1. kevint09@comcast.net'

    Good questions… did the slave trade have something to do with the disappearance of the Apalache people?

    Reply

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to POOF via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this website and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 596 other subscribers

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.

Support Us!

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

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!