Richard Thornton | May 9, 2017 | 23
Very similar art portrays the ritual burning of copal in southern Mexico and northern Georgia. Although not mentioned in the premier of America Unearthed, the shared art themes have proven to be the most powerful evidence of all that Mesoamerican refugees settled in the Creek Homeland. Research since the History Channel program was filmed has discovered that the Track Rock Complex was called Great Copal by Spanish colonists in Santa Elena. An Englishman, who visited the Georgia Mountains in 1651 stated that a fragrant incense was burned constantly in the mountainside and mountain top temples of the Apalache People in northern Georgia. The Apalache Alliance was the predecessor of the Creek Confederacy.
A bushy variety of copal still grows along some streams in the Georgia Mountains. It was used by Native Americans and mountaineers as a psychotropic medicine for treating headaches and severe pain. It is not mentioned in botanical references, but nevertheless, is a fact.
If interested in learning more, go to: Great Copal
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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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