Cheriqué Province, Panama . . . Is it the origin of the Cherokee’s name?
A word similar to Cherokee first appeared in British Colonial archives in 1715. The word chiloki, mentioned in the De Soto Chronicles is merely the Totonac, Itza Maya and Itsate Creek word for “barbarian” and those people ended up in southwest Georgia.
There is a tribe on the Atlantic Coast of northeastern Panama that shares some traditions with the indigenous peoples of the Southeastern United States like the stomp dance, but until recent times was composed of warlike hunter-gatherers. Could a band of the people from the province of Cherique migrated to North America just prior to the arrival of European explorers and become the core of the Cherokee tribe? It might be worth pursuing by some researcher.
From a Central American reference book:
Cherique o Chiriqui significa ‘valle de la Luna’ para los indígenas ngäbe-buglé. Según Phillip Young, el nombre del pueblo guaymí, aparece mencionado por primera vez en las Crónicas de Fernando Colón, quien relata el cuarto viaje de Cristóbal Colón por las costas caribeñas del istmo, en 1502. Según los cronistas españoles, los aborígenes llamaban a esta región Cheriqué, vocablo que significa ‘valle de la Luna’. Según el historiador Ernesto J. Castillero, la primera vez que se menciona el nombre Chiriquí en un documento es en la Relación, de Gil González Dávila, quien en 1522 recorrió la costa panameña del Pacífico.
Cherique or Chiriqui means “Valley of the Moon” in the indigenous Ngäbe-buglé language. According to Phillip Young, it was the name of a Guaymi village, first mentioned in chronicles of Fernando Colon, who recorded the fourth voyage of Christopher Columbus to the Caribbean coast of the Isthmus of Panama in 1502. According to Spanish chroniclers, aborigines called this region Cheriqué, the word meaning “Valley of the Moon”. According to historian Ernesto J. Castillero, the first time the name is mentioned Chiriqui is in a report of Gil Gonzalez Davila, who in 1522 wrote about the Panamanian Pacific Coast.
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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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